Arts at The Park
Park Avenue Christian Church
1010 Park Avenue at 85th Street, Manhattan
New York, NY 10028

For more information, contact:
Dottie Jeffries, djeffries2@nyc.rr.com; (917) 445-7876

Arts at The Park (AATP), a component of the Park Avenue Christian Church (known as The Park), will hold the annual free Park Avenue Christmas Gala on Wednesday, December 19th at 8:00 pm in The Park’s dramatic Neo-Gothic sanctuary located at 1010 Park Avenue at 85th Street, Manhattan which will be candlelit for the occasion. The concert is free and open to the public; donations are gratefully accepted.

The Christmas Gala will feature a festive program of choral and instrumental music as well as readings with a focus on the voices and music of women. The program includes “O frondens virga,” a Latin chant by 12th century German writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic and Benedictine abbess Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179); Annunciation (for organ) by British composer Judith Bingham; Niño lindo, a Venezuelan carol arranged by American composer and music educator Ruth Boshkoff and The Friendly Beasts, a medieval English carol arranged by Belfast native and New England Conservatory of Music alumna Gladys Pitcher.

Continuing this roster of works by women composers will be the world premiere of a  new work, “Glistening Lily,” by The Park’s artist-in-residence pianist and composer Deanna Witkowski who holds a M.A. in jazz piano performance from the City College of New York and a B.M. in classical piano performance from Wheaton College (IL). The text of “Glistening Lily” is taken from “Ave Generosa” by Hildegard of Bingen which provides a second representation of this recently canonized saint on the evening’s program.  For more information about  the new work “Glistening Lily,” visit here.

The first half of the concert will focus on “Anticipation” of Christ’s birth, and the second following intermission on “Arrival.” The choral music in the “Anticipation” part of the program will include the joyous Magnificat of Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707), a precursor of Bach, who was a German-Danish organist and composer of the Baroque period. Other works on the program include “Rise Up Shepherd and Follow,” an African-American spiritual arranged by the AATP’s Artistic Director Paul Vasile; and “In the Bleak Midwinter” by leading contemporary British composer Bob Chilcott.

The evening will also feature readings by members of the itinerant theater collective Compagnia de’ Colombari including “The First Coming” by Madeleine L’Engle; “Annunciation” by Denise Levertov; and “The God We Hardly Knew” by Oscar Romero.

The concert will conclude with a Carol Sing of familiar tunes during the first of which–Silent Night (Gospel-style)–the audience candles will be lit. The concert will then conclude with a special Hot Chocolate Toast in the Idleman Parlor adjacent to the sanctuary.

Arts at The Park, a component of the Park Avenue Christian Church (known as “The Park”), brings together outstanding performers and ensembles from the greater New York City metropolitan area for programs that enrich and inspire and that touch our shared human story and experience. Arts at The Park include live music, theater, political and theological discourse, and family and holiday events. Artistic Director of Arts at The Park is Paul Vasile.

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