Christmas concert christens the season | ParkRecord.com

Christmas concert christens the season

Park City resident Keith Lilley loves Christmas music because of what it represents.

"I think it embodies the joy of the season where we celebrate the birth of Christ," Lilley told The Park Record. "I've enjoyed attending a number of concerts during the holidays, whether it's the 'Messiah' or similar events. So I wanted to bring another one to town as an additional option for Park City to attend."

Lilley has organized the new "A Christmas Concert in the Mountains," that will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2, at Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church, 4051 N. S.R. 224.

Admission is free, but donations will be accepted.

“I would love to make this an annual offering to the community, because this time of the year is an uplifting time for most individuals...” Keith Lilley, “A Christmas Concert in the Mountains” organizer

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"The money will help offset some of the expenses of putting on the concert," Lilley said.

The performance will feature Jubilate, a chorus ensemble from Salt Lake City, the Midway Swiss Handbell Ringers, organist Rob Stefanussen and pianist Kathy Allan.

"The idea was to introduce a varied Christmas concert to the community," Lilley said.

Jubilate was the first group Lilley approached.

"They have been performing a Christmas concert down there (in Salt Lake) for many years," he said. "I approached them and asked, 'Why practice for just one concert, when you can practice for two?'"

Jubliate board of directors told Lilley that the group would be happy to perform in Park City.

"After that, I looked around at who else I could add to the concert, and I knew there is a fantastic organist named Rob Stefanussen from Salt Lake who has performed as a guest organist at the Salt Lake Tabernacle," he said. "Rob's technique and skills at the organ are just phenomenal. I don't know any other word to describe it."

Lilley reached out to Stefanussen a few months ago when Shepherd of the Mountains had installed its new Hauptwerk virtual pipe organ.

"I asked him about playing a Christmas concert and he had initially turned me down," Lilley said. "I reached out to him sometime later by text at 1:30 a.m. one morning, and 10 minutes later I received a text that said, 'Sure thing, Keith.'"

Lilley was overjoyed.

"It's great to have someone of Rob's talent and skills to say he would ome up," he said.

The third group Lilley recruited is the Midway Swiss Handbell Ringers, whom he met through a woman who moved to Midway from the Ukiah area in Northern California.

"Her name is Kathy Allan and she is a choral director, pianist and organist," Lilley said. "While I was talking with her, she told me she joined the Midway Swiss Handbell Ringers, and I thought, 'That's what's missing from the concert.'

Lilley contacted the bell ringers' director, Cari Knapp, and asked if the group would be interested in performing during the concert.

"She said yes," he said. "So there will be some combined piano and vocal numbers and combined organ and handbell numbers."

Lilley hopes the inaugural Christmas Concert in the Mountains will be a success.

"I would love to make this an annual offering to the community, because this time of the year is an uplifting time for most individuals," he said. "It's a time for us to forget our day-to-day worries and celebrate something joyful."

"A Christmas Concert in the Mountains" will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2, at Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church, 4051 N. S.R. 224. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted.