In the News

MSO Season 84

Manchester Symphony Orchestra celebrates season with Gloria!

The Manchester Symphony Orchestra presents “Gloria!” at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11 in Cordier Auditorium at Manchester University North Manchester.

The winter concert features “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Johann Sebastian Bach, “Les Éolides” by Cesar Franck, “Evening Prayer and Dream Pantomime” from Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, “A Christmas Festival” by Leroy Anderson and “Gloria” by John Rutter.

MSO undatedTickets are $20 for general admission. Admission is free for MU students, faculty and staff, as well as anyone younger than 18. Go to to buy tickets. They are also available at the door.

There is a mix of great repertoire, including a few holiday favorites. 

“Rutter’s ‘Gloria’ is sung in liturgical Latin, but the lyrics are familiar to most audiences: Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis (Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will),” said Debra Lynn, MSO conductor and artistic director. 

“The scriptural reference is from the story of angels who surprised unsuspecting shepherds with the announcement of Christ's birth. While this choral-orchestral extravaganza is often programmed during the Christmas season, the composer's intent was to send a broader message about world peace,” she said.

Dr Debra Lynn photo“With all that is going on in our would currently, it is in that embracing, loving spirit the MSO presents this masterpiece to our community. We are delighted to share that Manchester University A Cappella Choir, Manchester High School Choir, Wabash High School Choir and Manchester Symphony Chorus are joining the MSO in this performance.”

The Hansel and Gretel piece features the “Evening Prayer,” a sweet and hopeful duet sung by the children, seeking protection by 14 angels while they sleep on the ground after becoming lost in a dark forest. The prayer will be sung by MU students Kora Beasley, soprano, and Mackenzie Sheridan, mezzo-soprano.

“The music perfectly melds the innocence of childhood with the splendor of the heavens in a span of about 8 minutes,” Lynn said. “It is miraculous music by Engelbert Humperdinck, a composer most Americans either don't recognize or confuse with the pop singer of the same name from the early 1970s. They are distantly related, and the pop singer was named for the composer.”

Lynn also offers a “frosty” interpretation of “Les Éolides,” which normally paints an aural picture of the "little breezes" of spring.

“My own interpretation is a bit frostier as I quite enjoy giving the Aeolids (daughters of Aeolus, keeper of the winds) a little more of an ornery bent. I like to imagine them leaving a slight discomfort in their wake. Perhaps this is because I raised daughters of my own, and always appreciated their creative spunk and harmless prankery,” she said.

 “I hope our MSO performance will add a bite to the air with Franck's breezes growing from gentle winds to blustery gales as we look forward to bundling up, building snowmen, sledding downhill, and then warming ourselves with a cup of hot cocoa by the fire.”

Fun fact: Dec. 10, 2022, is the French composer’s 200th birthday.

Mason Kniola Season 84Mason Kniola, an MU senior, will conduct two of the concert pieces:

  • “A Christmas Festival” is medley of favorites sure to conjure up visions of sugar plums, Santa Claus, Ornamented pine trees, wrapping paper, ribbons, candles and manger scenes.
  • “Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring” offers a familiar and beautiful classic in celebration of the Advent season. 

    There will also be a silent auction to help the MSO with its mission to make high-quality, diverse programming accessible in the region. Each concert costs almost $16,000 to produce.

    Special time

    The symphony was unable to perform at its traditional afternoon time for this concert.

    “We are honored and grateful for the many musicians we share with other orchestras throughout the region, and an unforeseen scheduling conflict arose with one of the orchestras,” Lynn said. “Fortunately, we were able to solve the problem by moving our concert for just this one performance. We thank the MSO patrons and wider community for their flexibility in this situation. We will return to our regularly scheduled 3 p.m. programs in March.”

    For the media
    Dr. Debra J. Lynn is director of choral organizations and vocal studies at Manchester University. A composer who conducted for the third time this spring at Carnegie Hall, she is a collaborative musical storyteller. Learn more about Dr. Lynn:

    To arrange an interview with her, email

    With about 6,000 residents, North Manchester is one of the smallest communities in the nation with its own symphony orchestra. Residents of Wabash County and what was then Manchester College founded the symphony in 1939. That partnership continues today with a carefully crafted collaboration of professional and community musicians, as well as selected MU, faculty, staff and student musicians.

    Other holiday happenings at Manchesters University:
  • Tree-lighting and Santa, Nov. 30

November 2022