Holiday Concert Brings Joy to All

The University’s Department of Music & Theatre presented its 14th annual salute to the holiday season with this year’s production of “Holiday Joy,” a performance of seasonal favorites featuring student, faculty, and special solo talents on Thursday, December 6 at 7:30 pm. In the splendor of Wilson Hall, family, friends, and students gathered to enjoy the holiday music.

Wilson Hall was lit up in holiday spirit with numerous beautifully decorated Christmas trees, garland wrapped up the rails on the main staircase, and twinkling lights hung throughout. Performers were dressed to impress, from evening gowns for the opera singers to simple black dresses for the glee club.

Attendees paid $15 to sit on the first level and watch members of the University perform. President Paul Gaffney was also in attendance. Student admission was free as the concert sold out and had standing room only. Students stood on the second and third level, watching below and waiting for the show to begin.

Megan Roberts, freshman English and theater major said, “I’m here to see my friends. I’m excited because I love holiday music and I know my friends will be great.”

Among the performers were the University Chamber Singers and Concert Chorus, under the direction of Professor David Tripold, performing the classic “In the Bleak Midwinter” and “A Hanukkah Remembrance.”

The Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Professor Michael Gillette, assisted by Professor Bryan Jenner, performed “Christmas Festival” and Ralph Vaugn Williams’ “English Folk Song Suite.” Returning from last year’s debut is the “Harmonic Joules,” the glee club, under the direction of senior Jasmine Walker, performing “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on An Open Fire)” and “This Christmas.”

Henry Siebecker, senior theater arts major and a member of the chamber choir, discussed the amount of time put into the show. “Chamber choir is a class that meets twice a week for an hour and fifty minutes each time. David Tripold and the chamber choir try to work on the quality of the voice, not just on the pitch.” Siebecker admitted to enjoying the concert and the amount of people who attend.

Siebecker said, “Wilson Hall is just wonderful for singing because it echoes through. Sometimes it’s a problem but we have David Tripold and other of our music professors who know the mechanics of music so well that it doesn’t even matter.”

New this year was the Opera Workshop, under the direction of Professors Mark Wilson and Kathleen Myrick, with students doing duets from “The Magic Flute” and “The Marriage of Figaro” by Mozart.Also new were the University Jazz Hawks, conducted by senior Jonah Santorello, performing songs by Duke Ellington and Glenn Miller. 

The concert finished with the astounding Exultation Ringers of the Colts Neck Reformed Church who joined Concert Chorus to perform “Hallelujah” from The Messiah by Handel.

Imer Huertas, freshman marine biology major, shared, “It’s been great being in concert choir. I’m very happy with the amount of people that [are] here. My favorite part was the Jazz Hawks.” Huertas’ fellow choir member Hannah Wallace, freshman anthropology major, added, “It was a lot of work, especially with Hurricane Sandy. The concert is very festive.”

Brandon Wiener, sophomore theatre major and chamber choir member, said, “The hurricane affected us a lot. We were actually supposed to do another song and we could not do it because it was too challenging and there was not enough time to learn the song.”

“Holiday Joy” was just over two hours and left a lasting impression on the attendees. The magnificence of the holiday spirit inside Wilson Hall combined with the festive music brought the true feeling of the holiday season and reminded all of its rapid approach.