The Hays Symphony Orchestra’s Winter Vespers Concert will feature a multimedia experience on the nature of God and the Virgin Mary.

The concert will be at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 210 W. 13th. The event is free, but tickets will be available in the church lobby starting at 7 p.m. or can be reserved through the Hays Convention and Visitors Bureau, 2700 Vine, or by emailing

Erica Bittel, Fort Hays State University instructor of art history, will give a pre-concert lecture starting at 7 p.m.

Her talk will complement one of the pieces the HSO will perform that night, “Protecting Veil” by British composer John Tavener. Cellist Ben Cline, chairman of the FHSU Department of Music and Theater, will be the featured soloist.

Tavener’s piece has been described as “an icon in sound” and is a celebration of Mary.

Bittel, who is teaching a course this semester on Medieval art, will discuss controversies from Christianity of the era.

“We’ll get into the historical controversy about the nature of God at the time the different branches of Christianity were grappling with,” she said. “From that, we’ll get into what is the nature of the Virgin Mary because of these issues — was Jesus man, was he divine, was he both? That changes how we view the Virgin Mary as well.”

Images of Medieval icons will be projected on a screen during Bittel’s lecture and during the HSO’s performance.

Also on the program is Elliott Carter’s “Elegy for Strings,” Ennio Morroicone’s “Gabriel’s Oboe” featuring Kay Werth, FHSU instructor of music and theater, and Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto featuring Kristin Pisano, FHSU associate professor of music and theater.

The Hays Convention and Visitors Bureau will provide refreshments after the concert.