VocalEssence embarks on its "Welcome Christmas" concerts this weekend with two new carols for men’s chorus and English horn. The choral group and the American Composers Forum sponsor a contest each year with specific criteria.
Robert Sieving, a winner in 2009, was selected for his setting of "O Stella de Bethlehem." Sieving, who lives in Minnetonka, was also a winner in 2009, when he criteria called for carols with viola. The text of "O Stella de Bethlehem" is a Latin translation by Ryszard Ganszyniec of a Polish carol.
James Kallembach, a Chicago composer, won for a carol that uses the text "That Yönge Child." Kallembach said the requirement for English horn provoked in him the sound of a baby’s cry.
This is the 14th year of the contest.
The "Welcome Christmas" concert schedule: 7:30 p.m. Sat., Colonial Church of Edina; 4 p.m. Sun. and Dec. 11, Plymouth Congregational Church; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran, Apple Valley; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10, Trinity Lutheran, Stillwater.