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Conspirare Concert ready to ring in Christmas spirit

By JR Ortega
Nov. 29, 2012 at 5:29 a.m.
Updated Nov. 30, 2012 at 5:30 a.m.

Artistic Director Craig Hella Johnson is the conductor of the Conspirare Christmas Concert, which will perform at the First United Methodist Church at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6.


If you think the word is difficult to pronounce, just wait until the orchestrated mishmash of melodic dings and seraphic voices at the Conspirare Christmas Concert fill the room - suddenly, pronouncing conspirare isn't so tough.

The concert will hit the stage for the seventh year at the First United Methodist Church in Victoria at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6.

Craig Hella Johnson, composer and conductor of the concert and artistic director for the Victoria Bach Festival, cannot wait to touch Victoria listeners once again.

"We're grateful that we have a strong bond in Victoria," said Johnson, who added this is the concert's 20th anniversary. "I'm the founder of this organization and I've seen it grow and develop so much. It has been received well by audiences."

The concert is a very special experience, said Nina Di Leo, executive director of the Bach Festival. The church seats about 350 people, and, like years past, Di Leo is expecting a full house.

The music ranges from Gregorian chants to hymns to today's hits and everything in between.

"I like the way the programming is done," she said. "They are put together in a very unique way ... it's all interwoven into something you might not expect."

The hour-and-a-half concert will showcase soprano Kathlene Ritch and baritone Charles Wesley Evans, both are with the organization.

Music this year revolves around the theme of unity and oneness. The word conspirare means to breathe together, which is fitting with the idea of unity, he said.

"This seems to be a commonality that we all share in life," Johnson said.

Each year's set is unique, though concert-goers may recognize a couple of traditional songs, like Frederick Loewe's "I Could Have Danced All Night."

Some Frank Sinatra and Stephen Sondheim songs will also be sung, but Johnson did not want to give away too much - he's saving that for the concert.

"I think it's going to be a really fantastic concert," he said. "I can't wait to get to Victoria and see our friends again."



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