COLLEGE PLACE -- Staff, students and visitors packed into the Walla Walla University Church on Friday night for the music department's annual Christmas program.
The concert, which was entitled "Go Tell It," featured a wide variety of a music presented by a bell choir, percussionists, a full choir, and a 68-member student orchestra, often all performing in unison.
The choir sang Latin hymns from nearly seventeen centuries ago, as well as more contemporary songs -- including a rendition of the African-American spiritual for which the concert was named.
The program was a multi-cultural event. The music department selected and performed traditional Christmas music from the American South and early Christian Europe, and the students also played carols from Spain, Germany, Nigeria and England.
In addition, the event promoted the 50th anniversary of the university's student missionary program, which this year sent dozens of students to Africa, Asia, South America and Europe.
Michael Woodruff, a freshman theology major, plays violin in the university orchestra. Despite having played the entire set earlier that evening in the first of two performances, Woodruff and his fellow musicians remained enthusiastic and excited after the standing ovation and final eruption of applause.
"The concerts are fun," said Woodruff, who is also the orchestra's assistant concert master. "It's really cool to be involved. It's given us a chance to show all the hard work and to inspire everyone with a good feeling about music."
The Christmas season was in full display with carols and holiday music and decorations, including a large Christmas tree and a 10-foot wreath. For many it was a reminder of why they were all gathered there on a frosty evening with outside temperatures well below freezing.
University President John McVay said in his benedictory prayer, "The greatest story, the Christmas story, has inspired some great Christmas music."