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Community invited to celebrate 15th annual Christmas at CMU

Annual create-your-own-concert event features more than 100 musicians

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) invites the community to celebrate the start of Advent at its 15th annual Christmas at CMU concert event.

Christmas at CMU takes place on Saturday, November 28 at the university (500 Shaftesbury Blvd.). There are two concerts: one at 2:00 PM and the other at 7:00 PM. Admission for both concerts is free, and all are welcome to attend.

Rudy Schellenberg, Professor Emeritus of Music and one of the event’s key organizers, is joyfully anticipating the concerts.

“It’s really an intergenerational event, which is the great thing about it,” Schellenberg says. “There’s something for everybody.”

More than 100 performers are involved in the event, which features CMU choirs; vocal and instrumental jazz; a classical guitar ensemble; and performances by the university’s music faculty.

Christmas at CMU is a multi-generational, interactive event that allows family, friends, and neighbours of all ages to mingle in CMU’s beautiful heritage building.

Part of the event’s appeal is that people who attend do not have to sit in the same spot for an hour-and-a-half.

Music ensembles will be stationed in different parts of the university, allowing attendees to create their own concert by walking around the festively decorated campus—all while enjoying hot apple cider and cookies.

ChristmasCMUHighlights of this year’s event include Making Room for the Angel’s Song, a multimedia monologue taking place in CMU’s Great Hall. Based on Luke 1:26–38 with music from George Crumb’s A Little Suite for Christmas, the piece will feature CMU President Cheryl Pauls on piano.

Meanwhile, Dietrich Bartel, Associate Professor of Music, will read How the Grinch Stole Christmas in CMU’s Faculty & Staff Lounge, with CMU student Jesse Dollimont performing musical selections from the famed 1966 animated TV special to accompany him.

Following that performance, all children and parents are welcome to make music with Rebecca Harder, a CMU alumna and instructor with the university’s Community School of Music and the Arts.

Christmas at CMU will end with an audience carol sing in the Loewen Athletic Centre, an annual tradition that always culminates with everyone singing Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.

“There’s something universal about the Hallelujah Chorus that is a great summation of the purpose of this event,” Schellenberg says. “It’s a highlight every year.”

Since it was first held in 2001, Christmas at CMU has become an important event on the university’s calendar. Each of the two concerts draws approximately 700 people.

Alumni and friends from Saskatchewan, Alberta, and even southern Ontario travel to Winnipeg to attend.

“Christmas at CMU is our gift to the constituency that supports the university and to the community at large,” Schellenberg says. “It is a thank you for all the donations and students that CMU benefits from.”

While Schellenberg is co-organizing this year’s event, his retirement this past spring means he will not be conducting any of the ensembles.

“For the first time, I’ll be able to walk the halls and enjoy the music along with the audience,” Schellenberg says. “I think I’ll come to both concerts.”

For the complete Christmas at CMU schedule, please visit

About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 800 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program. 

For information about CMU visit

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2