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GBHS singers prep for Vespers Concert
new deh gbhs vespers pic
Great Bend High School singers rehearse Wednesday afternoon for the annual Vespers Concert set for Sunday afternoon at GBHS. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

If you want to attend:
The Great Bend High School Vespers Concert will be at 2 p.m. Sunday in the GBHS auditorium. The Great Bend Youth Choir will perform afterwards at 3:30 p.m. There is no cost and the public is invited.

Wednesday afternoon, the GBHS A Cappella Choir and Madrigals Pops Singers put the finishing touches on the 2012 Christmas Vespers concert.
The performance will be held at the GBHS auditorium at 2 p.m., Sunday afternoon. Following at 3:30 p.m., the Great Bend Youth Choir will perform. Fourth through eighth graders from the community auditioned to sing in the choir which is jointly directed by all of the USD 428 music teachers.
There is no cost and the public is invited.
This is the 77th-annual Vesper Concert, said choir director Susan Stambaugh. “It is an honor to be able to bring this powerful music to our audience.” 
For nearly two decades, Stambaugh has been responsible for preparing the singers for their performance.  In the beginning, only the Madrigals performed, but Stambaugh opened it up to the A Capella choir in recent years.
Stambaugh said the concert is a long-standing tradition in this community. The first time the A Cappella Choir sang in public was at the Vespers Concert in 1936 and the community has made it a well-attended – even standing-room-only – event ever since.
“This concert is about keeping alive a tradition that has been so important to so many in the community,” Stambaugh said, noting that the performance is totally voluntary for the choir members.
While Stambaugh stresses tradition and the educational value of singing music originally commissioned for the early church, some of her students have a deeper connection to the music.
For several of the students, they are the second and even the third generation to participate.  Past students return to watch and help set up, and families come together to share time together. 
 The young, A Cappella voices will perform joyful medleys of Christmas carol classics under Stambaugh’s direction. The Madrigals will perform a variety of 20th Century Christmas favorites.
Nancy Baxter will accompany on piano. This is the 20th year that Stambaugh and Baxter have worked together.