After months of hard work and a tricky end run around a collapsed church wall, the annual Christmas concert by the venerable Lange Choral Ensemble is finally nigh. A tradition for more than 40 years, the concert will include classics by masters of polyphony such as Palestrina and J.S. Bach, along with newer works in the same devotional, uplifting spirit by composers such as Norwegian Kim Andre Arnesen, British Bob Chilcott, Welsh Paul Mealor and Connecticut composer Steven Sametz.
The director, Steven Lange, formed the ensemble with his wife, Nancy Lange, the vocal music director at Grand Ledge High School for 38 years, back in January 1975.
Its first concert took place in May of that year.
“We were looking for a way to challenge ourselves as singers and directors,” Steven Lange said.
A mathematics graduate from Michigan State University, Lange went on to earn other degrees from MSU before spending the next 45 years working at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where he retired three years ago.
Originally dubbed “The Lange Early Music Ensemble,” the group initially specialized in music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods but later expanded to contemporary music.
After many years at St. Paul’s, this year’s Christmas concert is the first in a new location: First Presbyterian Church, 510 West Ottawa St., Lansing.
“We had to change venues in the spring because of problems within the building,” Lange said, refering to St. Paul’s. “A wall separated from the rest of the building, so it’s important people take a notice to our new change in venue.”
The choir also presents a concert during the spring. Rehearsing for the two concerts takes up most of the time allotted for the choir, so they rarely sing on any other occasion.
“Singing music involves our entire being: our body, our minds, our emotions and our souls,” Lange said. “Singing in a group offers a sense of community and an opportunity to express some of the most noble activities we can engage in — offering the fruits and talents of one’s own being to bless others with beauty and joy. When molding and shaping one’s own voice to match that of others, we often find great satisfaction.”
“Christmas Alleluias” will also showcase the talents of harpist Deidreanna Potter and Stephanie Gewirtz on piano and organ. Taking on vocal solos are Claire Bellamy, Kate McDougall, Larissa Clark, Brooke Broughton, Kate Powe and Vicki Walker.
For those looking to sing along, there will be audience participation at the end of the program, with a rendition of one stanza of “Silent Night” to close the evening.
Christmas Alleluias The Lange Choral
Ensemble 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10
$10 adults, $8 seniors and students
First Presbyterian Church 510 West Ottawa St., Lansing