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Christmas Festival 2009

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Published on Jan 8, 2010

More than 2,400 people packed into First Presbyterian Church Dec. 4-6 during three performances of the Westmont Christmas Festival, And In This Place Will I Give Peace. The popular program, which interweaves music and narration, sold out days in advance. In its fifth year, the free event showcases the colleges diverse musical talents and Christian traditions while ringing in the advent season. Between songs, student-orators Laurie Niesen and Brittany Chaco read texts about peace from Martin Luther King, Bishop Oscar Romero, Jane Chastain and the Bible.

The orchestra, in its inaugural season with a complete 60 members, opened the festival with Venus from Gustav Holsts The Planets. The Westmont College Choir, Chamber Singers, Womens Chorale, Mens Chorale and New Sounds Singers also performed. The world premiere of The Peace We Cant Imagine, a hymn by Randall VanderMey, Westmont professor of English, was warmly received and even elicited a few chuckles. It includes the words: Your silver and your bullion Hell mold into his crown/Your Facebooks and your Twitters will trumpet your renown. The orchestra and choirs came together during a powerful finale of Ralph Vaughan Williams Dona Nobis Pacem. The audience got into the holiday spirit, singing several Christmas carols, including an encore of Joy to the World.

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