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CU School of Music holds virtual Christmas Tapestry

By Ariel C. Emberton

Campbellsville, KY - Campbellsville University's School of Music's 2020 Christmas Tapestry looked different due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For over 15 years, the School of Music has been producing the Christmas Tapestry and allowing the public, CU students, faculty and staff to attend the performance. This year, Dr. Tony Cunha, dean and professor of music, wanted to continue the tradition of the Christmas Tapestry while keeping in mind health and safety measures.

"The School of Music faculty did not give up on a tapestry event. However, we knew it would be different," Cunha said. The 2020 Christmas Tapestry, which is a two-part video series, can be found at the School of Music's Facebook page,, through Christmas day.

"We had nine ensembles participating this year: Tiger Marching Band, University Flute Ensemble, Faculty Piano Ensemble, University Chorale, Women's Chorus, Clarinet Ensemble, Saxophone Ensemble, Steel Band and the Almeida Duo, the faculty ensemble," he said.

In part one of the performance, the Flute Ensemble performed "In the Bleak Midwinter" by Gustav Holts, arranged by Dr. Lisa McArthur, professor of music. The Faculty Piano Ensemble consisted of Dr. William Budai, associate dean/professor of piano, and Dr. Wesley Roberts, professor of music. They performed Appalachian Christmas Carols by Vincent Persichetti.

The University Chorale, directed by Cunha, performed "The Work of Christmas" by Howard Thurman and Dan Forrest.

The second part of the performance consisted of the Steel Band presenting "Angels We Have Heard on High" directed by Dr. Chad Floyd, associate professor of music. Dr. Denis Santos, assistant professor of music, directed the Saxophone Ensemble's performance of "Swinging Jingle Bells" arranged by Philippe Marilia. "The Baby Jesus" was composed and directed by Dr. Jamie Killion, associate professor of music, and was performed by the Women's Chorus.

The Clarinet Ensemble, directed by Santos, performed Raymond Hayes' arrangement of "The Christmas Song" by Bob Wells and Mel Torme.

The Almedia Duo performed "White Christmas."

According to Cunha and Jacquie Miller, secretary of the School of Music, those students who participated in the tapestry come from within and outside the School of Music.

"The majority of our music students had some part in the performances. It is hard to give an exact number because so many overlap. We also had some alumni and Marching Band students involved," Cunha said.

Miller, who handles a lot of scheduling for the School of Music, said this year everything was different.

"The schedule leading up to the event was very different. We usually spend much of Tapestry week in rehearsals. We also had to record before students left so we were working on the music earlier than normal. Recording and recording schedules were tricky -- something we never had to think about," she said.

Cunha said, "All students were flexible and very receptive to the idea of a virtual Christmas Tapestry. The ensemble directors started working with their ensembles since the beginning of in-person instruction, which gave the students a good perspective about the plans for the fall semester."

The videos for Tapestry were filmed in various locations across campus and some students and faculty recorded from their homes.

Multiple directors helped to produce this year's video and a music education student, Larry Birdsong, compiled all the pieces into one.

"I wanted to say a 'Thank You' to the following folks: music and non-music students in our ensembles; the School of Music faculty, full and part-time; the School of Music secretary, Jacquie Miller; Campbellsville University's audio/visual team, Andrew Bennett, Matt Wehle, Logan Hall and Larry Birdsong; and Derick Johnson," Cunha said.

This story was posted on 2020-12-22 10:10:26
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CU School of Music holds virtual Christmas Tapestry

2020-12-22 - Campbellsville, KY - Photo courtesy Campbellsville University.
Campbellsville University's Christmas Tapestry was filmed over the course of the fall 2020 semester and premiered on Campbellsville University's School of Music Facebook page in a two-part video series.

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