Symphony Chorus Presents “The Bells of Christmas”

Ring in the season with the Quincy Symphony Chorus concert, “The Bells of Christmas” at 7:30 p.m. p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 in Salem Church.

The joyful celebration is filled with sparkling carols and lots of bells. The performance includes “Ring Those Christmas Bells,” “Bell Carol of the Kings” and “White Christmas.” The choristers are directed by Dr. Phyllis Robertson and accompanied by Becky White.

Handbell choirs from First Union Congregational Church, Salem Church, and Centenary United Methodist Church of Louisiana, Mo. will join the chorus for a variety of songs. Other works are accompanied by Christa Fodor, flute, Marianne Peters, oboe, Jane Polett, violin, John Reinhardt, celeste, and Jill Steinkamp, percussion.

A newly commissioned Christmas song, “Candlelit Heart” by Dr. Chester Alwes honors Dr. Robertson’s 30 years as director of the Quincy Symphony Chorus. The text and title reference poetry by Mary Linton which expresses the love and connection of friends and lovers separated by distance at Christmastime.

Dr. Alwes holds degrees in music from Hanover College (BA), Union Theological Seminary School of Sacred Music (MSM), and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (DMA). Prior to joining the University of Illinois faculty in 1982, he held teaching positions at the College of Wooster (Ohio) and the University of Rochester/Eastman School of Music. At the University of Illinois, Dr. Alwes taught graduate courses in choral literature and seminars on the works of J. S Bach and Henry Purcell as well as graduate and undergraduate conducting. He has composed and arranged numerous published choral works.

Concert attendees are asked to bring non-perishable food to benefit Quanada’s Food Pantry. Quanada serves five Illinois counties, offering crisis support for those who have been assaulted or abused.

Tickets for the concert are available in advance at HyVee, Sturhahn Jewelers and County Market in Quincy, County Market in Canton or at the door for $18 for adults and $15 for seniors. Children 18 and younger are free.

The Symphony Chorus includes singers from all walks of life in Quincy and the surrounding area. Rehearsing on Mondays evenings from August through April, the chorus performs two choral concerts each season, and joins the Quincy Symphony Orchestra for large choral works. Area singers are invited to audition for the chorus by contacting Dr. Robertson at 217-228-2866. The spring 2020 performances include “American Heritage” Pops Concert on March 7 and a joint performance of Dvořák’s “Te Deum” with the Quincy Symphony Orchestra and Youth Chorus at the Natural Wonders Concert on April 24.

Flexi-tickets, which include six single admission tickets to be used in any combination throughout the season, will be for sale at the concert for $70. They are prepackaged in a special holiday envelope perfect for gift-giving. Flexi-tickets provide admission to QSOA concerts throughout the spring, making a lasting Christmas gift for music lovers on your list.

The Bells of Christmas is sponsored in part by Concert Sponsor Gardner Denver, Music Sponsor First Bankers Trust, Media Sponsor WTAD, the Joe & Jill Tracy Family Fund through the Community Foundation, and by the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Special thanks to the Knapheide Manufacturing Company and Blessing Health System, the 2019-20 Golden Baton Season Sponsors. For more information, visit