Join us!

A breathtaking festival of sacred Christmas music with string quartet, vocal soloists, organ, and piano. Classical and contemporary works featuring selections from Handel’s Messiah, Gerald Finzi’s In Terra Pax, the Piano Guys arrangement of We Three Kings, and carols sung by all.

with

Chris Garofalo Director, Piano, and Organ
Henry Pleas, Tenor
Mary Elliott, Soprano
Marty Matutis, Countertenor
Minji Will, Soprano

Eric Pidluski, Violin
Christine Chon, Violin
Lerryn Schaefer Donatelle, Viola
Andrew Molina, Cello
Toby Elliott, Percussion

Program

  • Violin Concerto in A minor: Allegro, Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Cantata BWV 51: Höchster mache deine Güte, Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Messiah: Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion, George Frideric Handel
  • O Holy Night, Adolph Adam
  • Carol: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
  • The Infant King, arr. David Willcocks
  • Panis Angelicus, César Franck
  • Ave Maria, Michal Lorenc
  • In Terra Pax, Op. 39 Part I, Gerald Finzi
  • The Christmas Story, Oliver Taylor
  • Christmas Prayer, Rev Hannah Chong
  • Violin Concerto in A minor: Andante & Allegro assai, Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Carol: What Child is This
  • Candlelight Carol, John Rutter
  • Wild Wood Carol, John Rutter
  • Mary’s Lullaby, John Rutter
  • Shepherd’s Pipe Carol, John Rutter
  • Carol: Hark the Herald Angels Sing
  • Jesus, O What a Wonderful Child, arr. Mark Hayes
  • We Three Kings, arr. Marshall McDonald
  • Angels from the Realms of Glory, arr. Marshall McDonald

Biographies

Christine Chon

Christine is a teacher and performing violinist in the Chicago area. She graduated from the Eastman School of Music with a master’s degree in Violin Performance and Literature where she was the teaching assistant to Mikhail Kopelman. A native of California, she relocated to Chicago to pursue her BM in Violin Performance at the DePaul School of Music with Janet Sung. In 2012, Christine received the as the Graduate Arts Award at DePaul University supported by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and finished her term as a violinist with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Christine has participated in music festivals, including the Round Top Music Festival, Mimir Chamber Music Festival, and Bowdoin International Music Festival. This past season, Christine has been a part of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. She recently recorded for post-production for Spike Lee’s 2015 satirical film Chi-Raq as a guest studio violinist.

Mary Elliott

Mary received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Millikin University and her Master of Music from the University of Nevada, Reno. She has performed in numerous operas and musicals including Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, Maria in The Sound of Music. She was in the chorus of Chicago Light Opera Works’ production of H.M.S. Pinafore. She has also been the music director for Honk!, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Oliver! She has performed as soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah and Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915. Mary is a frequent soloist with Naperville Men’s Glee Club and is a former member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, New Classic Singers and Vox Caelestis. She received first place in the Nevada State NATSA competition and second place in the Society of Arts and Letters. Mary maintains a voice and piano studio of 30 students.

Toby Elliott

Toby regularly plays percussion in the OnCenter band and at the Orchard Church in Aurora. He is a Freshman at Waubonsie Valley High School and plays in the Jazz Band, Wind Symphony, Marching Band, the Percussion Ensemble, accompanies the Show Choir, and sings in the Mosaic choir. He also accompanied Community Players’ production of Just So last spring. On stage, Toby has had leading roles in Oliver!, Seussical the Musical, Honk!, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Beauty and the Beast, Alice in Wonderland, and Into the Woods.

Chris Garofalo

Chris, Director of Music Ministry at Community UMC, has been active as a pianist and accompanist in the Chicago area for over 30 years and has composed works for solo piano, voice, choir and chamber ensembles. With a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, he also maintains a private teaching studio in Westmont and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Downers Grove Music Club, a charitable non-profit musical arts organization. His recordings include: Silhouettes (2005), Soliloquy (1991), Luminaria (1990), Earth Air Fire Water (1989), and Left Brain/Right Brain (1998). In 1999, he accompanied tenor Henry Pleas on his first CD: Deep River: A Spiritual Journey. Chris’ Suite for Flute, Violin, Cello and Piano and Sonata for Flute and Piano are featured in David Gaynes’ 2013 documentary film Next Year Jerusalem. Chris Garofalo is a Steinway Artist.

Martynas Matutis

Born in Vilnius, Lithuania, Martynas Matutis is a classically trained tenor, countertenor, and composer. He has been an active member of several choirs, most notably as concertmaster and soloist for the Dainava Lithuanian Ensemble, and as permanent accompanist for the Vyturys Children’s Choir. He regularly appears as a performer for various company functions in the Chicagoland area and has been a member of the Community UMC choir since March 2017.

Andrew Molina

Andrew is pursuing joint MD-PhD degrees in the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine’s Medical Scientist Training Program. He graduated in June 2018 from the UChicago with bachelor degrees in chemistry and biochemistry and was named a Beckman Scholar. Andrew is a principal cellist in the University Symphony Orchestra and performs in UChicago’s chamber music program. He is active in the music ministry at Calvert House, the Catholic student center on campus and currently studies with Nazar Dzhuryn who trained and taught at the Moscow Conservatory. Andrew has won numerous music honors, most recently earning First Place in the 2016 UChicago Biennial Concerto Competition and being awarded the 2016 Fulton Prize for Orchestral Excellence. Andrew is an alumnus of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, where he served as a co-principal cellist in the Symphony Orchestra.

Eric Pidluski

Erik is a native of Fairfield, CT, where he began playing the violin at age 9. He is currently a member of the first violin sections of Elgin and Rockford Symphonies. He has performed with Illinois Philharmonic, Lake Forest Symphony, Northwest Indiana Symphony, Ensemble Dal Niente, and Chicago Q Ensemble. He attended the DePaul University School of Music, where he received a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a certificate in violin performance. His principal teachers include Olga Kaler and Mark Zinger.

Henry Pleas III

Henry is an American tenor, recognized for his robust, brilliant voice. As a soloist for Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Grand Rapids, Chicago Opera Theater his roles have included the title role in Tales of Hoffmann, Rodolfo in La Boheme, Tamino in the Magic Flute, Turriddu in Cavalleria Rusticana, and Don Jose in Carmen. In orchestral performance he has appeared as soloist in Beethoven Missa Solemnis, Mozart Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Britten’s St. Nicholas for ensembles including the Grand Rapids Symphony, Ars Viva Symphony, and Chicago Modern Orchestra Project. Henry Pleas is a graduate Brown University (B.A.), Northwestern University (M.M) and did graduate work at the University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana in Vocal Performance. He is a frequent recitalist and interpreter of music from a wide variety of styles, including readings of the song cycles of Schubert, Britten and new works by Glen Roven, Gwyneth Walker and, long-time collaborator, Chris Garofalo.

Lerryn Schaefer Donatelle

Lerryn holds a Master of Music in Viola Performance from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance from the Lawrence Conservatory of Music. Her principal teachers have included Rami Solomonow, Matthew Michelic, Leslie Straka, and Jacquelyn Schwandt. Lerryn is currently the violist for the 1st National Tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies. She teaches at DePaul University’s Community Music Division, at the Merit School of Music, and maintains a private studio in Chicago. She is also an active chamber musician. She has performed in master classes for Michael Tree, Abram Loft, Charles Castleman, and the Pacifica, Ebéne, and Brentano String Quartets.

Minji Will

Minji is a senior at Illinois Wesleyan University with a music education major and jazz studies minor. As a diverse musician, she is actively involved in her University’s Collegiate Choir, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and various student-led ensembles. She is also a Drexler Singer at First Christian Church in Bloomington. Minji is also an accomplished conductor and music director and has conducted various instrumental and vocal performances. This summer, Minji was awarded the Eckley Scholarship which allowed her to research the relationship between music and healing. This project culminated in the recording of her first album entitled Dedicated to You. In the future, Minji hopes to continue exploring how to use music to teach, heal, and grow.