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Pastoral Musicians to Host Annual Christmas Concert

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Lydia McFarlane/Villanovan Photography
The Villanova Pastoral Musicians will be perofming this Wednesday.

Angels may be heard in the St. Thomas of Villanova Church on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m.

The Villanova Pastoral Musicians (VPM) will be performing its annual holiday concert. The office for mission and ministry is also helping out with the event. This year’s theme is Peace on Earth.

The group is composed of about 60 singers and musicians. This includes all four singing parts, soprano, alto, tenor and bass, as well as a variety of instruments such as violins, harps, pianos and even trumpets. 

The Pastoral Musicians practice once a week throughout the year to provide music for weekly Catholic masses and special events such as Baccalaureate Mass. The group even sang in the Vatican last year during spring break. Despite its busy schedule, VPM is still looking forward to its annual concert. 

The pieces that will be performed include sad pieces such as Prayer of the Children and familiar tunes such as Do You Hear What I Hear? 

Sean McElwee has been the director of the group for seven years. He has grown fond of the talented musicians and is looking forward to the success of this year’s concert after hard work within the group.

“Contrary to what many may think, programming a concert rarely starts with the music,” McElwee said. “As Pastoral Musicians, our role is to accompany our listeners. These are real people with real experiences and real struggles, joys and hopes. Sure, a holiday concert could include familiar carols, but if a university’s sacred music ensemble is only focusing on the anticipated joys of the season, we’re missing the point of experiencing the holidays as part of a real, lived experience in time and history.”

McElwee teaches the Pastoral Musicians to not only love performing music for others, but to understand the meaning behind spreading Christmas joy. It does not always have to be familiar tunes to get people in the Christmas spirit.

VPM has been prepping for the concert since October and cannot wait to show off its musical skills. Katie Tuberosa, a junior soprano singer, has loved the group for the past three years. However, this will be her first holiday concert.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of my first holiday concert with the Pastoral Musicians,” Tuberosa said. “We’ve been working since early October on pieces such as Christmas classics, religious songs, a cappella pieces and instrumental hymns all surrounding our theme of Peace on Earth.” 

McElwee understands the excitement for VPM to provide holiday music.

“We all want the magical experience of Christmas,” McElwee said. “If we don’t respond in action to the gift of God, we’re keeping the treasure for ourselves. Christmas gives us the example that we are to share these gifts with the world.”

Fifteen pieces will be performed at the concert. Although some of them will not be recognizable, they all hold a special meaning to each musician in the group. Sophomore Michael Ferlisi claimed his favorite piece to be an unrecognizable one.

“I would have to say my favorite piece is My Lord Had Come,” Ferlisi said. “I really think it captures the meaning and feeling of Christmas as a joyous but also thoughtful time.”

McElwee also shared the meaning behind the title of this year’s holiday concert.

“Through sacred and secular choral and instrumental music, the Pastoral Musicians will invite listeners to consider the presence and absence of peace in our world during the holiday season,” he said. “It will also invite others to consider what role hope must play as we journey towards Christmastime together.”

The event is welcome to anyone and free to the public. 



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