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Not your ordinary . . . Christmas concert with music premiered in Napoleon's horse stables!

The Pauls Valley choirs of First Presbyterian Church and First United Methodist Church are presenting CHRISTMAS MUSIC IN THE VALLEY on Sunday, December 4 at 4:00 pm at the First Presbyterian Church in Pauls Valley. Donations at the door benefit the church music programs.

The concert opens with traditional Christmas carols followed by Camille Saint-Saens’ historic Christmas Oratorio, premiered at La Madeleine Cathedral in Paris in 1858. Soloists include sopranos Melody Marshall and Vicki Rennie, mezzo-sopranos Mary Gowing and Renee Myler, alto Holley Sanders, tenor Jay Carlton, and baritone Alan Marshall. Conductors are Alan Marshall and Jack Bowman. Guest organist is Scott Raab from Oklahoma City.

Here is some interesting history about Saint-Saens. Beginning in 1858 at the age of 23, Saint-Saens served as organist at La Madeleine Cathedral, one of the most prestigious positions in Paris. His Oratorio de Noel, op. 12 was premiered in December of this first year. Napoleon originally designed this historic facility in the form of a Roman temple surrounded by a Corinthian colonnade to the glory of the French Army. It included stables for Napolean's horses. After the fall of Napoleon, the grand structure was completed in 1844 as a house of worship. From the beginning, great music was premiered at La Madeleine by Saint-Saens and other distinguished French composers including Theodore Dubois (1877-1896) and Gabriel Faure (1896-1905).

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