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Fall Arts Celebration concert to feature holiday music from France

  • Image of painting depicting the holidays in France

Posted on November 27, 2017

On Christmas Eve in France, churches and cathedrals are lit with candles, church bells can be heard ringing throughout the air and Christmas carols are sung by thousands of people. After midnight mass, French families traditionally celebrate with a feast called "le réveillon" — a cherished household tradition celebrating family, with food and wine that can last up to six hours until the dawn of Christmas morning.

Fall Arts Celebration at Grand Valley will honor these French holiday traditions through music with a large symphony orchestra performing selections including Renaissance composer Guillaume Du Fay’s “Magnificat,” Francis Poulenc’s “Gloria,” and France’s most beloved holiday carols, including “Pat-a-pan, Il est né, le divin Enfant” and “Minuit, Chrétiens” (O Holy Night).

“Noël, Noël, Joyeux Noël: A Celebration of French Music for the Holiday Season” will take place December 4, at 7:30 p.m., at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids (24 Fountain Street NE).

The GVSU Symphony Orchestra will accompany a 90-member chorus, including Grand Valley’s University Arts Chorale and high school choir students from East Grand Rapids and Hudsonville. The processional will spotlight eight Grand Valley dance majors who will be dancing in the aisles. The Grand Rapids Symphony Junior Youth Chorus will also be featured, and Ashley Neumann, ’08, will return to perform as soprano soloist in Poulenc’s “Gloria.”

"Music is an integral part of this wonderful time of year as hearing the ageless melodies of the Christmas season often transports us back to when the excitement of Christmas morning was the best time of the year," said Danny Phipps, chair of the Music, Theatre, and Dance Department.

For more information about Fall Arts Celebration, visit