Church music ministry to share holiday spirit tonight in Lee Center


LEE CENTER — St. Joseph’s Church Music Ministry will hold its 35th annual Christmas Concert tonight at the church, 5748 Stokes-Lee Center Road, starting at 7 p.m.

The concert, “Long Awaited One,” is free and open to the public and will feature a wide variety of Christmas arrangements — from ancient Gregorian chants to music written during the pandemic.

“The obstacles since the pandemic have been very great, and to be able to hold this feels like a small miracle,” Music Director Scott Rutledge said. “We will be presenting a wide variety of Advent and Christmas music through the centuries. We’ll be performing chants from the 7th and 8th century, as well as contemporary pieces that were written during the pandemic.”

The singers will be accompanied by Jennifer Evans Fitzgibbon and Aaron Browka with the Chamber Orchestra. In addition, Andrea Falvo, a local singer and teacher, will be this year’s concert guest.

Rutledge said last year’s concert was small — featuring himself and around five to six musicians — but was still beautiful.

“I’ve always thought the way to deal with COVID-19 is faith and good common sense,” Rutledge said. “So something like this is special. People are starved to be around others of faith. We need this, and this is what the concert is all about. Faith.” Rutledge said the concert would follow mask protocols, and mark the first time the concert will be performed while masked.

“Up to two or three weeks ago, we didn’t know if the Christmas Concert would happen,” he said. “People have been canceling everything, and they’re afraid. But we’re not afraid. We’ll do everything that our local representatives tell us we need to do.” But to Rutledge, this kind of event is important, as it brings people together and strengthens faith in a positive way. “It’s one of the most positive things to celebrate — the coming of the Savior,” he said.

And to sing pieces written amid the pandemic, Rutledge continued, shows that faith is strong and people were inspired. “To write music during that time was so different than any time, and what was written is so special.”

A light reception will follow the concert in the parish center.


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