Choral music has been an integral component of Dr. Leonard Ratzlaff’s life for as long as he can remember. Coming from a community which valued singing collectively, Dr. Ratzlaff was introduced to hymns and harmony at an extremely young age. However, his passion for chorale conducting didn’t emerge until his undergrad when he began conducting church choirs.

Dr. Ratzlaff has been a vital member of the U of A’s choral community for the last 36 years and this Sunday he will be conducting The Madrigal Singers, U of A Concert Choir and University Symphony Orchestra in one spectacular performance!

However, conducting an ensemble this large always comes with its own set of challenges. For example, each individual ensemble in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio rehearsed separately up until the first few weeks before the concert. So, to ensure they sound like a unified group in their final performance, Dr. Ratzlaff made detailed notes on the different music parts. This way, the musicians would understand exactly how he wanted it rehearsed to ensure maximum dramatic value for the audience in the final performance.

The decision to tackle such an ambitious set of Cantatas was made partly because members of the voice faculty were passionate about performing it, but also because it would be an awesome opportunity for the students involved. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio is from the Baroque era which is a genre students rarely get to explore. It’s also an excellent opportunity for the students and faculty members to perform together. Being able to hear your teachers sing and also perform with them is a unique and rewarding experience.

We really hope you can join us on Sunday, December 3rd for this spectacular mainstage event. More details about the concert and ticket information can be found on our showpage!

Lastly, here’s Dr. Ratzlaff himself inviting you all the Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and sharing why he thinks this concert is a must see!



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