By Bob Dickson

The Master’s College Music Department looks to conclude a spectacular 2012 fall semester on a high note as it perfoms its 29th annual Christmas concert Friday afternoon and evening (Nov. 30) at The College of the Canyons Performing Arts Center.

This year’s performance, Come Christmas Sing, represents the first time the performance will be held at College of the Canyons, a venue that will allow for more seating and greater acoustic dynamics than the concert’s traditional venue at Bross Gymnasium on the TMC campus.

This year’s event will feature two performances – one at 4 p.m. and a second at 8 p.m.

“For twenty-eight years we have done this concert here,” said music department chair Dr. Paul Plew. “This is the first time we’ve ever taken it off campus, and it’s worth doing. At the Performing Arts Center, you will hear music differently because a gym is not meant to reward music.”

The concert, always a highlight of the year for the music department, is a fitting capstone to what has been a year of highlights, including a September visit from award-winning composer and pianist Dan Forrest. Forrest, a celebrated chorale composer with nearly one million chorale works in print, spent several days with students and faculty. College students and alumni performed a special “Works of Dan Forrest” concert in the school’s recital hall.

“People were standing two and three deep around the room … it was an amazing event,” Plew said.

Come Christmas Sing has enjoyed a similarly enthusiastic response at the box office. According to Plew, seventy-five percent of the tickets for tonight’s evening show and sixty percent of the afternoon performance were sold six weeks ago, as soon as tickets became available.

“There’s about 3,500 people that come though the gymnasium for the concert each year,” Plew said “The Master’s College is not in the middle of the valley, so I think this [new venue] will open up an awareness.”

Seating is still available for both of today’s milestone performances, so anyone hoping to ring in Christmas with a dose of musical inspiration still has an opportunity. However, the engagement is for one afternoon/evening only.

“We tried to get them to give us another day, but it wasn’t possible,” Plew said.

Unlike other years, when TMC’s Christmas concert lasted for two weeks, the 2012 version will be over almost as soon as it begins. In other words, by the time you hear from someone else how great it was, the opportunity to see it will have passed.

And this is a Christmas concert unlike any other. It all comes down to motive.

“We understand that if we’re going to do something like this, it has to be excellent,” Plew said. “But more than that, we know that we do it before the Lord, as an act of worship. It is an offering of praise.”