Sunday, November 24, 2019 at 4 PM

First Congregational United Church of Christ

1031 S. Euclid Avenue - Sarasota, FL 34237

John Rutter is one of the world's most popular choral composers, and his Christmas music helped make him famous.  His settings of traditional carols and his original Christmas compositions have become familiar friends during the holidays.  Rutter fell in love with Christmas carols when he was a chorister in grade school, but he gradually became more ambitious.

"It was really a short step from singing and enjoying carols, to saying 'Why don't I write some of my own?'" Rutter explains. "Every now and again I write a new carol and it's like a thread that runs through my musical life. It always brings me back to those happy days as a little boy soprano, getting so excited about Christmas."


The British composer remembers an annual Christmas concert in high school as one of his formative musical experiences.

“I always loved that event,  It kind of planted in me the music, the message and the magic of music.”


Rutter joined the ranks of composers who write Christmas music while still in school. Over the years, he says, Christmas music remained part of his musical DNA.

“Christmas is still very dear in my heart,” Rutter says. “It’s kind of the world as we all wish it could be, for just those precious few days each year. A time of stillness and yet of rejoicing. So Christmas will always be very special in my heart and it’s always been celebrated in music.”

Musica Sacra's "A John Rutter Christmas Scrapbook" program features Rutter's musical fable Brother Heinrich's Christmas and also includes his Nativity Carol,Star Carol,Shepherd's Pipe Carol, Angel's Carol, Candlelight Carol, What Sweeter Music, Love Came Down at Christmas and many more.

Featured Narrator  -  Edward Alley

Edward Alley was named conductor of the legendary 7th US Army Symphony at the age of 22, conducting over 100 concerts throughout Western Europe, including the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. As Principal Conductor and Manager of the touring Goldovksy Opera Theater,  he conducted over 800 performances of

opera throughout the United States and Canada.He has served as Executive Director of the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music, Manager of the New York Philharmonic, Associate Director of the Opera Center of The Juilliard School, Director of the Exxon Arts Endowment conductor’s Program, and was a judge for numerous vocal competitions including the MeT Opera auditions. He was also an On-Site Evaluator and Grant Panelist for the Opera/MusicTheatre and Music Programs of the National Endowment for the Arts.  Alley is a former Trustee of the Sarasota Opera and past Board Chair of the Choral Artists of Sarasota, Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota, and the TDC Grant and Policy Panels of the Arts Alliance of Sarasota County, where he received the“Volunteer of the Year” Award in 2016.  He currently writes music reviews for The Observer Group and succeeds his wife, the late June LeBell, as Producer/Host of SILL’s Music Mondays.

© 2014 - 2018 Musica Sacra of Sarasota, Inc.

PO Box 50581

Sarasota, FL 34232



Photographic credits:

Gary Sweetman Photography © 2017-2019

Bob Harris Photography © 2015

Cliff Roles Photography © 2014

Home page background photo:

Musica Sacra of Sarasota in performance at

First Congregational United Church of Christ November 2019

Gary Sweetman Photography © 2019