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Holiday concerts continue a 44-year tradition

November 30, 2012 12:00AM


Pittsburg State University will continue a 44-year-old holiday tradition on Dec. 5 and 7 when it presents the Timmons Chapel Christmas Concerts. The annual performances are both a gift to the community from faculty and students and also a tribute to the benefactor who made it all possible.

The PSU Department of Music will present the concerts at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5, and Friday, Dec. 7. The concerts are free and open to the public.

David Hurley, professor of music history and oboe at PSU, directs the concerts. He said this year's program will include an assortment of works for small ensembles and a mix of some Christmas and classical items ranging from Corelli to Bach. In addition to string ensembles and solos, there will be vocal solos, a brass group and hand-bells.

Students from the PSU Chamber Orchestra, some faculty from the Music Department, and community members will collaborate in this year's performance, Hurley said.

From their inception, the Timmons Chapel Christmas Concerts have been a showcase for Timmons Chapel, a Gothic-style, all-faiths chapel completed in 1966 as a gift to the university from longtime benefactor Beth Spiva Timmons. The annual Christmas Concerts were begun in 1968 and for many years, Timmons personally provided the greens and supervised the simple holiday decoration that have become a part of the holiday tradition at PSU.

As always, there is no admission fee for the concerts, but seating in the chapel is limited. For more information, please contact the Pittsburg State University Department of Music at 620-235-4466.

About Timmons Chapel:

Designed by architect Richard N. Wakefield, the English gothic chapel's Ashler pattern stone walls are 18 inches thick. The Vermont slate roof weighs 80,000 pounds.

The chapel's bronze bells were cast in Asten, Holland. The chapel's five-rank Wicks pipe organ has 341 pipes that are concealed in the organ loft.

Since its construction, the chapel has been the site for thousands of weddings, which was one of the primary desires of the donor. That purpose for the building is reflected in the design throughout. The chapel's altar, for example, is fashioned of nine wedding rings. The relief design on the chapel's bronze bells depicts the wedding of Canaan.

About Beth Spiva Timmons:

Born in Galena, Kan., in 1901, Beth Spiva Timmons was a long-time patron and benefactor of Pittsburg State University. One of her first acts of generosity to the university was her establishment of the Spiva Emergency Loan Fund for students in 1951. That fund eventually became the Spiva Scholarship Fund, one of the first scholarship funds established as part of the PSU Endowment Association. In 1985, she established the Timmons Trust Fund. Together, the two funds provide some of the largest scholarships awarded by the university. Beth Spiva Timmons died in June of 1985. In 1988, she was honored posthumously with the PSU Presidential Award of Merit.

©2012 Pittsburg State University