The annual Christmas Festival Concert has become so woven into the fabric of the advent season for the Whitworth community, that it may be difficult to imagine a time when the event didn’t exist. The first festival concert was performed in December 1949, on a Wednesday night in Graves Gymnasium. It was presented by the music, speech and drama departments, with the orchestra opening the concert, the choirs singing Christmas folk melodies and grander choral arrangements, and the drama department presenting the nativity scene. The Whitworthian congratulated the departments “for a wonderful start on a beautiful tradition.”
While the original style and location of the concert have changed, it continues to attract thousands each year to multiple performances in Spokane and, since 1989, the Seattle area. Concertgoers take part in worshipful music, performed by the Whitworth choir, women’s choir, men’s chorus and chamber singers, in anticipation of the birth of Christ and in celebration of advent. The choirs are often accompanied by an array of instrumentalists and a narrator; dancers sometimes take part. Many Whitworthians on both sides of the state claim that the Christmas season begins for them only after experiencing this beloved tradition.
For information about the 2014 Christmas Festival Concerts, click here.