From staff reports 

Instead of presenting a Christmas concert in the days and weeks before Dec. 25, the music ministry of St. Anselm Parish, Tinton Falls, has chosen to uphold its six-year tradition and host a concert on Epiphany Sunday.

Such will be the scene again in St. Anselm Church on Jan. 6 when parish music minister Mike Zorner and his choir of 50 members will present a concert of Advent hymns and Christmas carols. The concert will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. in the church located at 1028 Wayside Road, Tinton Falls.

“Our focus this year is on arrangements of traditional Advent and Christmas carols including the familiar ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,’ ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ and ‘Silent Night’ and will be sung along with some lesser-known carols such as ‘The Huron Carol,’ ‘Sussex Carol’ and ‘The Shepherd’s Carol,’” Zorner said. There will also be a few newer pieces such as Michael Card’s “Immanuel” and an arrangement of “Soon and Very Soon.”

The idea to host a concert on Epiphany Sunday, Zorner explained, started six years ago when he realized that as the number of choir members began to grow, so were the possibilities of enhancing the musical repertoire for Sunday Mass. Over the years, the choir has been singing anthems during the season of Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter in addition to the regular congregational hymns that are sung at Mass. The anthems are sung as a prelude while people are gathering, he said. 

“Six years ago, we thought it would be nice to put all the Advent and Christmas pieces together and present a Christmas concert to the parish,” Zorner said, noting that “While our main function at Mass is to lead and encourage the assembly to sing, this concert gives our choir members an opportunity to ‘perform’ for an audience and share some of the hard work that they have put into learning the pieces they will be performing.” In between the sung pieces, related Scripture Readings are proclaimed, he said.

By choosing to present a concert on Epiphany Sunday rather than in December prior to Christmas, Dorner said, “In the Church, we know that the Christmas season begins on Christmas Day and goes through the Baptism of the Lord. Having our choir hold its concert on Epiphany allows us to continue to celebrate the Christmas season right up until its final days.”

In addition to the choir members, accompanist and guitarist, other musicians who are expected to participate in the concert include Anya Garipoli, a St. Anselm parishioner and harpist studying at Oberlin Conservatory, and Dr. Dorothy Sobieski, also a parishioner, violist and head of the performing arts department at the Ranney School in Tinton Falls. Sobieski will perform along with her daughters who, together, make up a string quartet.

Admission to the Jan. 6 concert is free but a freewill offering will be collected to benefit the music ministry.

For more information, contact Zorner at mzorner@stanselm.com or call 732-439-4411.