CUA Music School Puts on Annual Christmas Concert at Basilica

The front of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is decorated for the Christmas holiday and concert.

The front of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is decorated for the Christmas holiday and concert.

By Anna Quatrone

The Benjamin T. Rome School of Music and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception will cosponsor the 26th Annual Christmas Concert for Charity on Friday, December 4th. The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Basilica’s Great Upper Church.

The first portion of the concert will feature the Choir of the Basilica, conducted by Peter Latona. The second portion of the concert, Leo Nestor will conduct the CUA Chamber Choir, the University Singers, University Chorus, and the CUA Symphony Orchestra.

This year’s concert will be especially significant for Nestor because it will be his last Christmas concert as a professor at the University. Nestor has been conducting the annual Christmas concert since 1988 when the first collaboration between The Catholic University and the Basilica took place. He began conducting the annual concert as the music director at the Basilica and an adjunct professor at The Catholic University. After becoming full-time at Catholic 15 years ago, Nestor has conducted the University musicians for this concert.

“As musicians, the members of the combined choruses and orchestra have an expectation of excellence, of giving their personal and our corporate best,” said Nestor. Despite his retirement, Nestor has complete faith in the future of the annual Christmas Concert for Charity. “They will surely and happily continue down the years,” said Nestor.

Sophomore violinist, Finbar Kantor, who will be performing in the concert said, “The pieces that he [Nestor] wrote for this concert are both amazingly well written and beautiful.” Kantor has enjoyed the preparations for this year’s concert and stated, “It is really great to be able to work with someone who is not only a loved figure at CUA, but also a well-known composer and musical director in the DC area.”

Nestor has made it a tradition to incorporate original music composed by Catholic University of America graduate students and faculty. This is important to him as a conductor because, as he says, it is “illuminating.”

This year’s original compositions include pieces by Robert Baker, an assistant professor of Theory and Composition, and Joseph Kaz, a graduate student.

In regards to Nestor’s personal future, he says, “It rests in God’s wise and loving hands: I’m praying that he sends me a tremendous adventure!”

This year’s concert will benefit the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts. Which is a Catholic religious order dedicated to catechesis, medical service for the poor, and educational services.

The concert will be aired on EWTN on December 22, at 2 p.m.; December 25, at 5:30 p.m.; and January 1, 2016at 10 a.m.

Admission is free and open to the public. Early seating is recommended for those planning to attend.

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