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St. Rose of Lima Presents “A Very Merry Christmas”

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By Rebecca Sontag

“All music should have no other end and aim than the glory of God and the soul’s refreshment.” –Johann Sebastian Bach

Christmas is a time of wonderment and delight when even the dull early winter skies are made new with the glimmer of rich decorations and the twinkling of lights while hymns and carols lilt through the air. St. Rose of Lima Church shares all of this with the community and beyond, free of charge, on a magnificent and grand scale as they present – for the fifth year in a row – the St. Rose Christmas Concert.

This is the crowning achievement of a music program rebuilt. Father Barry Windholtz, pastor of St. Rose, made a conscious decision to invest in the musical offerings of the parish by hiring Trevor Kroeger as musical director in 2014. Kroeger, who holds a Master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Cincinnati’s prestigious College-Conservatory of Music, in conjunction with Father Windholtz, has transformed the sacred music offerings of the church. Employing professional vocalists and instrumentalists, Father Windholtz has nurtured a transformative music program at St. Rose. It is one that produced the regionally acclaimed St. Rose Christmas Concert, yes, but also one that enriches liturgical celebrations throughout the year.

Yet, there is no denying, the Christmas Concert is special. The solidly built red brick church, like a devoted sentinel keeping watch, sits perched at the very edge of the Ohio River as barges head up and down stream. At concert time, like a Christmas card come to life, the inside of St. Rose radiates a golden glow filled with anticipation and cheer as audience members find seats in the crowded church and the chamber orchestra begins to tune. Overflowing with greenery, candlelight and ribbons, the beautifully decorated church hums with excitement as the musicians, garbed in tuxedos and ball gowns, take the stage to perform hymns, carols and classical composition by J.S. Bach, Mendelssohn and others.

So popular has the St. Rose Christmas Concert become that a second performance date has been added to the schedule this year to accommodate the growing audience. This season, the 90-minute concert will be performed at St. Rose of Lima Church in Cincinnati, Friday evening, Dec. 20, at 7:30 p.m. Additionally, there will be a Sunday performance, Dec. 22, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Because of the generosity of donors within the St. Rose parish, both concerts are free of charge and open to the public. However, though free, tickets are required in order to attend.

Note: Both performances are sold out, however they have a waiting list by clicking here

Start a new Advent tradition this year, one whose beauty and import will both make new memories with loved ones while harkening to beloved memories of Christmases past. Dress up and make a day of it. Bring family and friends to this elegant church and soak in the exquisite music and delight in the festive setting. Glorify God and refresh your soul as you prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord. As Kroeger stated, “This is a gift to the community from St. Rose.” Take it and see what’s inside, and share it with others.

St. Rose Christmas Concert. Photo / Steve Ziegelmeye
St. Rose Christmas Concert Photo / Steve Ziegelmeyer
St. Rose Christmas Concert Photo / Steve Ziegelmeyer
St. Rose Christmas Concert Photo / Steve Ziegelmeyer


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