Masterworks concert will shine light in the darkness of loss

By Elizabeth Fulcher – News & Features Editor

The holiday season is fast approaching, which means it’s time for decorations, holiday sweaters, Christmas lights, time off of work and of course, holiday music.

Every year, the Bel Canto singers, along with the theater program put together a Masterworks concert in November, the night of Thanksgiving. This year, however, instead of having the annual Masterworks Concert in November, it has been moved to December 9.

Last year’s Masterworks program, “A Downton Abbey Christmas,” featured holiday music by English composers themed around the popular British television show.

Hesston College is celebrating and honoring the lives of loved ones that the community has recently lost, and hopefully bringing light into the dark times as we enter the holiday season, with a program called “Light Eternal.”

Russell Adrian, the director of Bel Canto, picked a piece broken into five different movements called Lux Aeterna, meaning Light Eternal, by Morten Lauridsen.

“While the work is a requiem setting, it is an absolutely beautiful piece of music and is unique since it contains a movement about the birth of Christ,” Adrian said. “The message of light entering darkness represents the theme of Advent and our hope is that it also brings peace to those who are experiencing the holidays without a close loved one.”

The beginning movement is a request for God to hear our prayers and to grant eternal rest on those who have passed. The second movement is about our grief and asking for God’s mercy. The third movement is when Christ has come to Earth and sacrificed for our sins. The fourth movement is about the Holy Spirit working within us to find everlasting joy, and the final movement closes confessing the Christ is the savior of the world.

In the theater department, director Rachel Jantzi selected monologues to correspond with the music and theme of this program. It’s a familiar theme for Jantzi. 

“I have experienced much loss myself,” Jantzi said. “I had to start with something, so I took into account what I needed to hear.”

In the beginning stages of her process, Jantzi had some specific scripts in mind that she wanted to incorporate, with pieces of material that would be appropriate to use. She worked with the feeling and the mood of the music to find the right scenes and scriptures for the program, reading around 30 pieces of text to find the correct 16 to fit.

“Not everyone has lost somebody, and even if they haven’t lost someone, I think it’s important that everyone is a part of Advent,” Janzti said. “If you’ve been fortunate enough to not experience loss you can still experience the feel of Christmas through Advent. Most people have, but some might not have experienced deep loss. Hopefully this will be a benefit to them.”

The Masterworks Concert will be held in the Hesston Mennonite Church at 7 p.m.

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