For more than a century, Heidelberg University has performed Handel's "Messiah." This year, as the transition to a school of music was completed, the holiday tradition has expanded to a full-length Christmas concert.
The concert is to feature several ensembles and a new venue. "Christmas at The Ritz" is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday at The Ritz Theatre in downtown Tiffin.
"This new format promises to begin an outstanding new holiday tradition for us, while also continuing our cherished traditions from the past," said John E. Owen, director of the school of music.
The first half of the concert is to feature holiday music performed by the University Community Chorus, under the direction of Paul Mayhew; the Concert Choir, under the direction of Greg Ramsdell; and the University Baroque
Orchestra, under the direction of Barbara Specht.
The second half is to include arias and choruses from "Messiah," including the "Hallelujah" chorus.
In between, the audience and performers are to join for a carol sing-along.
As in the past, alumni and community members are invited to sing in the chorus, and four soloists are to perform.
Presenting the soprano solo is to be Carol Dusdieker, who joined the Heidelberg music faculty this fall as assistant professor of voice.
She has sung with various opera companies and symphonies throughout the U.S. and has a passion for modern music and teaching.
The alto soloist is to be Renee Clair, adjunct instructor of music at Heidelberg. She appears regularly in professional new music venues and festivals throughout the U.S.
An active performer in opera, oratorio, recital and chamber music, Clair's repertoire extends from classics of contemporary literature through works composed specifically for her voice.
Opera singer Benjamin Bunsold is to sing the tenor solo. Bunsold has sung leading operatic roles throughout the U.S. and abroad, most recently making his Los Angeles debut.
His concert credits include solos in pieces by Mozart, Haydn, Schubert and Vivaldi, among others.
Benjamin Czarnota is the bass soloist. An experienced stage performer, Czarnota has performed a variety of opera roles and premiers across the country.
He also has appeared in musical theater and as a soloist in classical pieces, including "Messiah."