Story by Hope McPherson
Photos by
Lara Swimmer and John Keatly

Christmas Concert Is Showpiece of
SPU Community Event Series

David Anderson (top) directs the 73-voice SPU Concert Choir, one of the SPU choral and symphonic groups that will perform "The Sacred Sounds of Christmas" in Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony, Seattle, Washington.

As Christmas lights and holiday wreaths decorate Seattle's downtown streets, the city will receive a special gift from Seattle Pacific University. On November 26, SPU's concert, "The Sacred Sounds of Christmas" launches the holiday season in Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony.

A centerpiece of the Seattle Pacific 2001-2002 Community Event Series, the concert features five choral groups, including the acclaimed SPU Concert Choir, and the Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Held last year in Benaroya's 500-seat Nordstrom Recital Hall, this year's "Sacred Sounds" will fill the hall's impressive 2,500-seat main auditorium.

"The concert is our gift to Seattle," says Seattle Pacific President Philip Eaton. "We talk a lot about being at the table in the Seattle community. In all ways we seek to engage the culture and make a real impact for good in the community and beyond. And Benaroya Hall — what a place to bring our gift of music to the Seattle community at this sacred time of year!"

Those who attend the concert will hear Advent choral and symphonic music spanning centuries — and sung in Russian, Dutch, Latin, French and English. Music will include "Coventry Carol," "O Magnum Mysterium" by Morten Lauridsen, and "Three Movements for Advent" by Joseph Martin, which premiered in 2000 at the national convention of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). Through all the music weaves an important theme: God's promises to his people, from Advent to the Incarnation of Christ. "It's the essential message of the season, spoken to us through music of various eras and styles," says David Anderson, assistant professor of choral music.

Director of the SPU Concert Choir, Anderson has seen the 73-member choral group gain national attention. Last year, the Concert Choir was invited to San Antonio, Texas, to perform at the ACDA national convention, attended by more than 6,000 people. This year, choir members are equally enthusiastic to perform close to home in Benaroya Hall.

"We're all really excited to be at Benaroya," says senior Elise Burger, a Concert Choir member since her freshman year. "The acoustics there are incredible, and it is just a beautiful place to be." In fact, she adds, the location itself will likely attract people unfamiliar with SPU.

And when the houselights go up, Seattle Pacific's gifts to the community won't end. The SPU 2001-2002 Community Event Series, a compendium of music events, athletic events, lectures and theatre performances, is giving Seattleites a fresh look at Seattle Pacific's broad offerings. Among the upcoming events are a performance of Shakespeare's Macbeth, a "Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts" workshop with SPU faculty members Les and Leslie Parrott, and a teaching conference with author and speaker Parker Palmer.

For tickets to "The Sacred Sounds of Christmas," call Ticketmaster at (206) 628-0888 or visit Ticketmaster online at You can also purchase tickets at the Benaroya Hall Box Office on Third and Union Streets in downtown Seattle. Admission is $12.

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