For many people, the celebration of the Advent-Christmas-Epiphany season begins with the annual St. Olaf Christmas Festival. “Christmas at St. Olaf: Ris’n With Healing in His Wings” is a century-old tradition at St. Olaf College in Minnesota and coming to Arizona PBS on Dec. 25 at 9:30 p.m.
The festival continues as an expression of the College’s rich musical heritage, featuring lively and festive music, including “Gloria” by Andre J. Thomas – a work arranged for massed choir, soloists and a full orchestra in a gospel musical style. Other music includes familiar Christmas carols, beautiful and contemplative choral anthems and rollicking orchestral flourishes.
Started in 1912 by F. Melius Christiansen, founder of the St. Olaf College Music Department, the festival includes hymns, carols, choral works and orchestral selections celebrating the Nativity featuring more than 500 student musicians in five choirs and the St. Olaf Orchestra.