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GREENVILLE - Mark your calendar for three upcoming musical concerts and celebrate the joyous sounds of the holiday season at Greenville University.

On Tuesday, November 28, the GU Jazz Band, under the direction of Nicholas Pyles, will present "Evening by the Fireplace." Gather friends and family and come in from the cold for holiday favorites and smooth jazz arrangements. Guest vocalist Dr. Grace Denton joins the performance for such Christmas classics as "White Christmas," "Santa Baby," "Christmas Time is Here," and more. This concert will be the jazz band's first of the season and its premiere under the baton of director Pyles. The band consists of 13 members, including two from the local community. The concert starts at 7 pm in the Whitlock Music Center recital hall. The concert is free and open to the public.

On Sunday, December 3, The Greenville Choral Union and Orchestra will present its 93rd performance of George Frederic Handel's oratorio "Messiah" at 4 pm in the Whitlock Music Center recital hall. John Rutter's "Magnificat" selections pair with Part 1 of "Messiah" for the perfect sacred start to your holiday season. According to Don Frazure, Director of Choral Activities at Greenville University, "Rutter's 20th-century work is an energetic yet contemplative Latin setting of ‘Mary's Song of Praise’ from Luke 1:46-55 and will contrast nicely with Handel's timeless 'Messiah.'" The performance will include congregational holiday carols.

Doors open at 3:30 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public. A free-will offering to defray the costs of the program will be collected. Following the performance there will be a reception across Elm Street in the Alumni House.

On Tuesday, December 12, the Greenville University Concert Band will perform its Christmas Show. This show is the first concert of the semester for the concert band and marks the premiere performance under its new director, Nicholas Pyles. The show will feature holiday favorites and traditional concert band music. The concert will capture the joyous atmosphere of the holiday season and the peacefulness of a quiet winter's night. The GU concert band has 20 members, including two from the local Greenville community. The concert is free and open to the public and begins at 7 pm in the Whitlock Music Center recital hall.

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Whitlock Music Center is located at College Avenue and Elm Street.

Pyles is serving in his first year as Band Director and head of Music Education at Greenville University. He is an alum of SIUE, with both master's and bachelor's degrees in music performance and music theory. Pyles has performed with the St. Louis Muny Orchestra and taught at McKendree University and Ss. Peter and Paul. Nick and his wife, Katie, are members of the St. Matthew Church, where they play with the orchestra.

Conductor and tenor Don Frazure is serving in his fourth year as director of the Greenville University Choir and the Greenville Choral Union. Don has conducted major works by Bach, Vivaldi, Haydn, Mozart, Brahms, and Rutter. He has led the GU choir on successful tours of St. Louis, Indianapolis, England, and Northern Ireland.

As a vocalist, Don has performed with many opera companies and orchestras throughout the United States. In 2001, the Mississippi native made his New York City Opera debut as Tamino in Mozart's "The Magic Flute" and debuted with the Metropolitan Opera in Wagner's "Parsifal" in 2003. He has performed with the Arizona Opera, Opera Carolina, Opera Omaha, Palm Beach Opera, Seattle Opera, and the Spoleto Festival USA.

Frazure garnered critical acclaim as soloist with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Boston Baroque, and the symphonies orchestras of Alabama, Atlanta, Baltimore, Nashville, National, and New Jersey and is the tenor soloist for Bach's "Magnificat," recorded by the Boston Baroque Orchestra (Telarc, 2005).

A graduate of the Juilliard Opera Center, Dr. Frazure holds B.M. and M.M. degrees in vocal performance from William Carey University and the University of Southern Mississippi, respectively, and a Doctor of Worship Studies degree from the Webber Institute for Worship Studies. Dr. Frazure has served as the Pastor of Worship Arts at Christ Church of Fairview Heights, Illinois, since 2006.

About Greenville University

Greenville University is an accredited Christian liberal arts university with more than 1,000 students, including traditional undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree completion students. Founded in 1892 and affiliated with the Free Methodist Church, the University is in Greenville, Ill., 45 miles east of St. Louis, Missouri. For more information, visit www.greenville.edu.

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