The Catholic University of America

Nov. 17, 2010

CUA, Basilica to Present 22nd Annual Christmas Concert for Charity


Catholic University will celebrate the music of Christmas on Friday, Dec. 3, at 7:30 p.m., with the 22nd Annual Christmas Concert for Charity in the Great Upper Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Sponsored annually by Catholic University and the Basilica, which adjoins the CUA campus, the event annually draws standing-room-only crowds and raises thousands of dollars each year for a designated charity.

This year, the concert will benefit the Vieban Annual Fund at Theological College, the seminary of Catholic University.

The fund is named for Rev. Anthony Vieban, S.S., who served as rector of the seminary from 1932 to 1944. The fund supports the school’s operating budget.

Tuition and fees cover only a portion of the cost of seminarians’ academic training and formation to become priests, says Rev. Melvin Blanchette, S.S., rector of Theological College. The Vieban Annual Fund helps to support the daily prayer and worship activities of the seminary community, and the formation of each seminarian.

“We are honored to be selected this year to receive the proceeds from the President’s Annual Christmas Concert for Charity,” says Father Blanchette. “We are most grateful to all the concert-goers and others who contribute generously at this year’s concert in support of the faculty and seminarians at Theological College.”

The concert will feature performances by the Catholic University Chorus and Symphony Orchestra and the Choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. CUA’s musicians will be led by Leo Nestor, Justine Bayard Ward Professor of Music, and David Searle, director of orchestral activities and conducting studies. The Choir of the Basilica will be under the direction of Peter Latona, director of music at the Basilica.

The audience will be invited to join the chorus and orchestra, accompanied by the great organs of the Basilica, in singing beloved carols.

Robert Grogan, CUA organ instructor and carillonneur of the Basilica, will present a carillon recital beginning at 7 p.m.; the Christmas Concert for Charity will begin at 7:30 p.m.

CUA musicians will première “Parate viam Domini,” a work by Brian Rice, a doctoral student in music composition. It is an annual custom for CUA students and faculty to première new works at this concert.

In addition to works by Mozart, Handel and Haydn, the concert will also feature “Jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head,” by Nestor. New orchestrations by Nestor and CUA music theory lecturer Richard Miller will also be performed.

The concert can be viewed after it has concluded at It will air on EWTN-TV on Wednesday, Dec. 22, at 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 25, at 5 p.m., and Friday, Dec. 31, at 11 p.m.

In addition, EWTN-TV will re-air the 2009 Christmas Concert for Charity on Thursday, Dec. 23, at 3:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 26, at 1:30 p.m., and Wednesday, Dec. 29, at 8 p.m.

For more information about the concert, call 202-319-5600 or visit


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