June 20, 2024


Mark Bunnell and James Dart play the French horns in USU Eastern’s “Messiah” on Sunday, Dec. 5

“It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas” at USU Eastern’s Geary Theatre with two holiday concerts scheduled this weekend.

The familiar Christmas melodies from jazzy allusions to chestnuts roasting over fires are part of the USU Eastern Choirs and Eastern Utah Orchestra’s “Festival of Carols” concert on Thursday, Dec. 5, at 7:30 at the Geary Event Center. Tickets are $1 for USUE students and children under 18, and $5 for adults.

Musicians worked hard to learn their music for choral director Larry Martin and piano faculty member Elise Tuttle. The newly remodeled Geary Event Center along with the new Steinway Concert Grand Piano plus the talented choir and orchestra make this an event you won’t want to miss, Martin said.

For the first time, Martin says, we are performing an orchestra-only piece, “O Holy Night.”

Janet Tuttle will be featured as a soloist for “The First Noel.” Tyell Gus- tavson will perform “Mary Did You Know.”

Three days later, in the same venue, the combined USU Eastern Choirs and the Castle Valley Chorale and Orchestra present the 71st annual George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m.

With 65 singers and 30-orchestra members, “The Messiah” continues to be a fixture of the Christmas season. This musical rite of the holiday season still awes listeners almost 260 years after Handel’s death.

“The Messiah” is always the heart of the areas’s music repertoire and a high point of the year. Community choir member Leif Nelson said, “It’s wonderful to see so many orchestra members, especially since at one time the group was unsure if it would even be possible to get enough instrumental musicians to perform the work.

“Not only are there enough, but they do a great job, especially considering that none are paid for their participation. This performance continues thanks to the musicians, those who continue to manage the organization of the event, and those who have allowed their facilities to be used for the performances (including the Price City Civic Auditorium, Carbon High School, and USU Eastern this year in the newly-remodeled Geary Event Center.

“I’m sure there are composers who hope their work last a few years, and maybe even longer, but this work has been popular for over 275 years. There’s something unique and wonderful about performing the work, which is why so