Loras College will host its annual “Mysteries of Christmas” performance with the theme “Proclaim the Joyful Message” at Steeple Square on December 9 at 7:30 p.m. The performance combines musical arrangements with gospel readings to provide a deeper understanding of Advent and Christmas.
“Mysteries is a prayerful experience leading people into the Advent season and preparation time for the Christmas holiday itself,” Glenn Pohland, D.M.A., director of instrumental music at Loras College, said. “We choose music and readings that best reflect our Catholic tradition. It is all about praise and rejoicing.”
This year, Waverly, Iowa native Max Rutledge (‘23), a music education major, is arranging Franz Biebl’s “Ave Maria” for the wind ensemble and will conduct the piece during the performance
“Mysteries is an opportunity to showcase student talent both in ensembles and solo moments,” Michael Bagby, DMA, assistant professor of music, said. “With Max conducting, this is a nice opportunity for him to gain that real world experience. To my knowledge, the Biebl’s “Ave Maria” has never been arranged for wind ensemble so this really highlights his abilities.”
Beginning in 2005, the “Mysteries of Christmas” concert focused on providing a deeper looking into Christmas by combining liturgical readings and interpretive music to underline the true message of the season. Each component of concert revels in the anticipation of Christ’s coming — both his past incarnation at Christmas and his future return at the end of time.
The initial presentations of “Mysteries of Christmas” at Loras College were based both on the format of “Advent Lessons and Carols,” most popularly celebrated at King’s College, University of Cambridge, England, and the Stations of the Cross. Since that time, the event has developed to more effectively draw out its character as a popular devotion. As such, “Mysteries of Christmas” is intended to lead all who participate in it to a fuller, more conscious, more active and more joyous celebration of the present coming of Christ among us each and every time the Church celebrates the Eucharistic liturgy.
“Mysteries of Christmas” is open to the public. Tickets are available at the door for $10.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at this year’s Mysteries of Christmas performance from Dr. Glenn Pohland and Dr. Michael Bagby in the latest episode of the Duhawk Digest podcast: