Keeping with a tradition of presenting compelling Christmas productions, the Burman University Choral Union is prepping for The Wise Still Seek Him.
Under the direction of Professor Wendolin Pazitka-Munroe, performances run on Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 2 at 4 p.m. at the College Heights Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
A free-will offering will be taken.
“It’s based around Henry van Dyke’s little Christmas book called The Other Wise Man,” said Pazitka-Munroe, who also directs two community choirs in Lacombe.
The classic title was first published in 1895.
“I’ve always tried to have some kind of a meaningful program at Christmastime — that stirs people inside in some way,” she explained. “So I found a narration that is based on that book, and we are going to weave it in and around our program of different carols that we will be presenting.
“Then we are finishing the second half with Vivaldi’s Gloria,” she said. “Some of our voice majors will be performing the solos as well.”
Three narrators will be telling the story, which focuses on a ‘fourth’ wise man who, like the other Magi, sees a sign in the heavens proclaiming the birth of a king.
Like the other three, he sets out with gifts to find the child.
“He sells everything he has and he buys three precious stones, like a pearl, a ruby, and a sapphire. He wants to bring them as gifts to the king,” she said.
During his journey, he comes across a man lying by the roadside. “He stops to take care of him,” said Pazitka-Munroe. “But he misses the three other wise men, who have left him a message saying they had to leave, but that he should keep traveling and catch up to them.”
On his way to Bethlehem, he rescues a young woman in danger and in the process, has to give away another of his treasures that was meant for the newborn king.
Another situation calls for him to give away his last gift as well. In each case, he’s given what he has for the good of others.
Years pass, and he hears about the impending crucifixion of Jesus.
“He ends up hearing Christ say, ‘If you have done these things for the least of these, you have done it unto me’.”
As mentioned, the second half of the production features Vivaldi’s Gloria with a small strings group.
Pazitka-Munroe has been teaching voice and conducting choirs at Burman University for 47 years now, and it’s always a joy to prepare productions like these each year, she said.
“It’s been really great to have that bit of creative outlet, to plan something and have a variety of things over the years,” she explained, referring to the wide range of productions, cantatas, and concerts she and the students have also collaborated on.
For Pazitka-Munroe, a passion for music was sparked early on, and she has had an accomplished career in her own right. She recalled starting to learn the piano when she was just five years old.
“My mother would re-arrange, transpose, and write out by hand pieces for me to perform when I was young, in the keys that would suit me better.”
According to the International Adventist Musicians Association, “Pazitka-Munroe is known and loved by her students for her radiant personality and inspiring approach to rehearsals as well as life itself.
“The 1990 Aurora Borealis, CaUC yearbook paid tribute to these qualities and the influence she has had on campus when it expressed appreciation for her music, friendship, and spiritual example.”