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Annual Holiday Concert set for Dec. 4 in Zorn Arena

RELEASED: Nov. 28, 2011

Holiday Concert

EAU CLAIRE —The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's department of music and theatre arts and the UW-Eau Claire Foundation will continue a long-standing tradition by offering the 37th Holiday Concert at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Dec. 4 in Zorn Arena.

The concert will feature performances by The Singing Statesmen, Symphonic Choir, University Symphony Orchestra, Women's Concert Chorale, Women's Chorus, Concert Choir and Wind Symphony. A song composed by Dr. Ethan Wickman, assistant professor of music, will be performed. Wickman's work — "Greater Love Than This Hath No Man" — was commissioned by the Concert Choir, led by Dr. Gary Schwartzhoff, professor of music.

Last spring Schwartzhoff asked Wickman to write a piece the Concert Choir could take on tour to Greece. Wickman spent a significant portion of the summer working on the piece, but while it was in the final editing process, he was struck by a story about the Syrian navy opening fire and shelling a town involved in government protests.

"I recalled how it had been a season of intense discontent — violence, protest and unhappiness in Wisconsin, a congress at complete impasse over budget — as I sat down to eat breakfast after thinking about all of this, a melody attached to the phrase 'A greater love hath no man than this, than a man lay down his life for his friends' came into my mind," Wickman said.

He immediately sat at his piano, and within a couple of hours he had a completed draft of his new work.

Although the text itself comes from the King James translation of the New Testament, Wickman said the intent was not to create a work of sectarian devotion, but was inspired by the idea of universality, compassion and consensus.

This is Wickman's second annual collaboration with the Concert Choir.

To help offset the rising costs of presenting the concert, the UW-Eau Claire Foundation is charging a small fee for the Holiday Concert this year: $5 for floor seats and $3 for bleacher seats. Tickets may be purchased at the University Service Center in Davies Center or by calling 715-836-3727.

For special seating arrangements, contact Derek Brehm at brehmdl@uwec.edu or 715-836-5049. A $3 service fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.

-30-

MC/JB/DW

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