CHRISTMAS AT LORETTO
Christmas at Loretto
Beautiful New Music for the Season
Featuring the world premiere of a new work by American composer
along with other new works for the season and
familiar carols in new arrangements.
Sunday, December 17, 2023
Church of Our Lady of Loretto
Saint Mary’s College
This concert begins our 35th season, and as is our tradition, we have commissioned a new work especially for the occasion by Seattle-based American composer, Jessica French. She will write a new work for a cappella choir, and the program will feature several more more of her works. Jessica has a rare ability called synesthesia, in which various senses are linked to one another, mainly in the form of colors associated with notes, timbres, and words. This ability lends a unique voice to her compositional style, which has been described as having “lyrical, sweeping lines…deeply impassioned…atmospheric…shimmering harmonies.” Jessica will be in residence for the dress rehearsal and performance of her new work
Other works on the program from the 20th and 21st centuries will feature primarily American and British composers. The annual holiday concert always draws a large crowd of Northwest Indiana residents. It will close, as usual, with our traditional, candlelit “Silent Night.”
Jessica French is an award-winning composer specializing in choral music, both sacred and secular. Her works have been commissioned and performed by various ensembles including the St. Olaf Cantorei, Massed Choirs and Orchestra; Ember Choral Arts, the Madeleine Choir School and Cathedral Chamber Orchestra, Te Deum, Seattle Pro Musica, Northwest Boychoir, Northwest Girlchoir, Seattle Girls Choir, Pacific Lutheran University Chorale, Choral Arts Northwest, and Opus 7 Vocal Ensemble. Most recently, she was commissioned by the American Guild of Organists to compose two separate works for their 2022 National Convention in Seattle. Her music has been performed in venues and churches across the U.S, including Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, St. John the Divine and Trinity Wall Street in NYC, the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston, St. James Cathedral in Seattle, the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City, the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist in Savannah, Georgetown University in Washington D.C., Harvard University in Cambridge, and at the Oregon Bach Festival in Eugene. Internationally, her music has been performed in Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, and the U.K., and has been featured on various broadcasts, including the St. Olaf Christmas Festival, and With Heart and Voice.
Jessica has a rare ability called synesthesia, in which various senses are linked to one another, mainly in the form of colors associated with notes, timbres, and words. This ability lends a unique voice to her compositional style, which has been described as having “lyrical, sweeping lines…deeply impassioned…atmospheric…shimmering harmonies.” Jessica’s awards include being a finalist for the American Prize in multiple years, the ASCAP Plus Award, and the 2020 AGO/ECS Publishing Award in Choral Composition, in which her piece was premiered at the 2022 AGO National Convention. Her compositions are available through The French Press, MusicSpoke, and E.C. Schirmer as part of the Dale Warland Choral Series. In addition, twelve of her works have been endorsed by Project : Encore and included in their Catalog of Contemporary Choral Music. Jessica has served as Repertoire and Resources Chair for Composition for Washington State ACDA and on the National AGO Career Development and Support Committee.
As a soprano, Jessica is a section leader at St. James Cathedral in Seattle. She also sings with Choral Arts Northwest, where she was named Composer-in-Residence for the 2021-2022 season. Jessica received her foundational training in music at the Madeleine Choir School in Salt Lake City, Utah. She received a Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and a Master of Music degree in Organ Performance from Yale University. After moving to the Seattle area in 2011, Jessica refocused her musical efforts toward composition, and has composed and arranged nearly thirty choral works during that period.