ETSU’s annual holiday choral concert, “Rise up, Shepherd,” will take place at Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 3 p.m. and again at 7:30 p.m. The event is hosted by the university’s student vocal ensembles; including ETSU Chorale, Bucsworth Men’s Choir, East Tennessee Belles Women’s Choir and Greyscale. This huge concert event has become a beloved tradition continuing now for over 35 years and will be presented by Dr. Matthew Potterton, director of choral activities in the Department of Music; and Dr. Alan Stevens, associate director of choral activities.

According to Potterton, the choral ensembles began working on the music for this concert on the first day of school in August.

“We also rehearsed music for our fall concert in October, but we concurrently rehearsed this music since there is not a lot of time between our fall concert and this December concert,” He said said. “On top of class time rehearsals of a minimum of three hours each week, all of the choirs are participating in several extra evening rehearsals as the date of the concert grows nearer.

The itinerary for the “Rise up, Shepherd” concert includes performances of choral masterworks and holiday favorite sing-a-long carols.

“There is a wide variety of selections ranging from classical repertoire by Dominick DiOrio and Charles Stanford,” said Potterton, “as well as gospel selections and traditional carols that the audience will be invited to sing.”

Listeners in attendance will be treated to an experience they cannot get anywhere else when they hear all four ETSU premier vocal ensembles sing together live.

“Any musical ensemble is best experienced live,” Stevens said. “It allows the audience to be a part of the performance, and to respond to the music as it’s actually being made. Live performance allows the audience and the music-makers to be connected. Recordings cannot provide the same experience.”

The choirs will be joined in this year’s holiday concert by the ETSU Faculty Brass quintet and members from the ETSU Percussion ensemble. The concert is free and open to the public with a suggested donation of $10.

“The evening,” Potterton said, “will surely help audience members get into the spirit of Christmas.”