American Festival virtual Christmas Concert set for Thursday evening

Members of the American Festival Chorus and Orchestra sing along to "This Land is Your Land," one of the songs the group will perform virtually for their Veterans Day concert in 2020.

LOGAN – The America Festival Chorus and Orchestra will present another virtual concert and this one is called “Christmas From Home” featuring many beloved Christmas carols for the season. The premiere begins Thursday, December 17, at 7:30 p.m. Their concerts will remain available online through January 2.

Craig Jessop founder of the American Festival Chorus and Orchestra will present a virtual Christmas concert beginning on Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m.

The choir was videoed along Center Street, the Utah Theater and several other locations in Logan,” said Dr. Craig Jessop the conductor and organizer of the AFCO. “The show will also include St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, The First Presbyterian Church, St John’s Episcopal Church, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church and the Logan Tabernacle.”

Jessop is hoping this virtual Christmas concert will be heartwarming and bring holiday cheer to the families of those who watch and listen.

“The feedback I received over the Memorial Day virtual concert was overwhelming,” he said. “I’ve never had such good feedback. It has been impressive and I’m hoping the Christmas virtual concert will be the same.”

If people enjoyed the Veterans Day Memorial virtual concert, they are certainly going to enjoy this Christmas Concert.

“As singers, as musicians and as artists, we wanted to use the power of music to uplift, heal, and inspire the hearts of our audience. In a year that has been like no other, we wanted to bring you a concert like no other,”  Jessop, said.  “I want to thank the countless individuals who have come together to create something truly beautiful, meaningful, and which will create an indelible Christmas memory.”

Among the many Christmas season favorites the Cache Valley group will feature include ”I Saw Three Ships,” “Joy to the World,” and “Silent Night.”

The Utah State University piano department faculty Kevin Olson and Cahill Smith will delight audiences with their rousing piano duet rendition of Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride.”

The USU Women’s Chorus will introduce the audience to the popular Israeli New Year’s song “Bashana Haba’a,” which speaks to the hope of a new year. Kurt Bestor’s “Ding Dong Merrily on High” features the Highpoint Clydesdales from College Ward, dancers, and a special visit from Santa Claus.

This year the AFCO is thrilled to share a sneak-preview video of their 2021 Christmas guest artists Voctave. They will perform their rendition of “Christmas Wish/Let There be Peace on Earth.”

“They are one of the top a capella groups in the country,” Jessop said. “And they have a slot on this year’s program and are our Christmas guest artists. Voctave is an 11 person a capella group from Central Florida with Disney World entertainment roots. They are amazing.”

Because it is a virtual concert everyone will have a front-row seat to the group’s most popular concert of the year.

“The Westminster Bell Choir, led by Kathy Bullock, will be back,” Jessop said. “They have been with us from the very beginning.”

The virtual concert was recorded and filmed in adherence to health and safety guidelines.

The concert link can be found on their website americanfestivalchorus.org.

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