Clarks Summit University’s Christmas Concerts will be held on December 13 at 7 p.m. and December 14 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. in CSU’s architecturally and acoustically stunning Murphy Memorial Library located in Jackson Hall on campus in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. Tickets can be purchased here.
Soprano Laura Abbott from Otsego, Michigan is a junior Counseling major who has been part of the concert choir since she started at CSU two years ago. This will be the fifth concert she has participated in. Abbott has a four-fold reason for participating in choir: she loves music, she loves the community that comes with singing in a group of fellow music lovers and Christ-followers, she loves the challenge of improving her musical abilities, and she thinks it is fun. Abbott’s favorite part about choir is that everything they do is focused on God. She says, “we are not just performing, we are singing to bring glory to God.” Another aspect of choir that she loves is the community and people she has gotten know through choir which she “wouldn’t trade for anything.” Abbott’s two favorite songs from the upcoming concert are “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” because it draws both the performer and the listener into the story of Christ’s birth and the redemption He brings, and “Lullaby for a King,” because it is a beautiful reminder of the simple way God chose to enter our world to bring us life. Abbott encourages people to come see the concert because it is “not only an amazing musical experience; it is also a great opportunity for encouragement and glorifying God,” where the audience can “simply soak in the beautiful melodies and words and be reminded of who God is, why He came and what Christmas is really all about.”
Tenor James Partridge of Canaan, New Hampshire is a senior in the Worship Studies program. Now in his fourth year with CSU’s concert choir, Partridge says choir is a relaxing outlet and an opportunity to “continually refine” his ear and music reading ability, which helps to grow him into a better musician. Partridge has learned the importance of singing and its “powerful means to lift our hearts in worship of God” from from choir director Adam Schwamb. Partridge’s favorite song from the upcoming Christmas concert is “Ding Dong Merrily on High” because he gets to accompany the song with the glockenspiel. He says, “The song is beautiful and simple but a lot of fun!”
Schwamb, who has been conducting the CSU concert choir since 2014, says that seeing the entire process of choral learning as his students go from the “nuts and bolts of music” and hashing out mistakes to the final product “in all its glory” is his favorite part about conducting choir. Schwamb’s goal for his students is that they would grow to love and appreciate all music, but choral music specifically, in a deeper way and understand how it connects in a much grander sense to their faith. Schwamb believes there is something special about performing Christmas music because musicians get to sing about “the defining moment of the Christian faith when Christ descended into humanity in the incarnation.” He adds, “Christmas, frivolity and joyousness find their outworking in song. What is more Christmas than singing together about the season?” Although Schwamb concludes that it is too difficult to pick a favorite from the upcoming concert’s repertoire, he says each piece “touches on a different emotional, spiritual aspect of Christmas” and “audience members will leave being touched by each in a unique way.” Schwamb believes this concert “will leave people with the essence of what Christmas is,” and he encourages community members to come and enjoy the concert as there will be “something for everyone” including traditional carols, a women’s choral piece, solo performances and jazz instrumentals. Tickets are available at the door and in advance here.
by Mariah Fredenburg, senior Communications-Writing major