Over 100 North Central students participate in annual Christmas concert
The musical talent of North Central’s student body was on full display during the Songs of the Season concerts that took place Dec. 2 and Dec. 4 in the Trask Word and Worship Center. The annual concert featured classical, modern and gospel arrangements of Christmas songs performed by North Central’s choir groups.
“[Songs of the Season] is part of an educational experience for our students,” Larry Bach, dean of the college of fine arts, said as he shared the musical styles that were shared. “It turns out to be a really fun concert for the audience, too.”
The Festival Chorus, Women’s Chorus, and Chorale each had a section in the program. A five piece brass band was hired to accompany the choirs for the concerts. North Central students and faculty made up the rhythm section and played additional wind instruments.
Audience participation was welcomed, and enthusiastically given on songs including “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and “O Come, All Ye Faithful” during times in the program when choirs were transitioning on the stage.
For Anna Baker, a fifth year student majoring in vocal performance and theater, performing in the Chorale and Songs of the Season has been a yearly part of her North Central experience. In addition to singing with the Chorale, Baker had a cello solo during “The Hands That First Held Mary’s Child,” by Dan Forrest and a vocal solo during “Waiting,” by Joel Raney.
Baker especially enjoyed singing the “Christmas Cantata” by Daniel Pinkham that the Chorale performed.
“In the second movement, the women had a chant-like part,” Baker said. “It was the hardest thing I’ve had to sing with a choir. It was really challenging, but so beautiful. There is a lot that goes into it and it was really rewarding to finally feel like it was set in stone,” Baker said.
Bach estimated that between 1,400 and 1,500 people attended Songs of the Season this year although it is difficult to count attendance exactly because students are not required to purchase tickets.
In the past, Songs of the Season has performed three times throughout the weekend with a Saturday performance in addition to the Friday evening and Sunday afternoon concert times. This year the choice was made to drop the Saturday performance time.
“The last couple years on Saturday and Sunday, we didn’t have more than 300 in [attendance] at each one,” Bach said, so they decided to go back to two concerts. Having larger audiences provides an energetic environment for the performances, and Bach seeks to really make the time worthwhile for both the audience and the students participating.
Bach came away from the performances this year satisfied with the effort and emotion his students put into the music for Songs of the Season.
“What was gratifying to me with the Festival Choir was the fact that we did three distinctly different types of music with that choir and I felt like they really loved it all,” Bach said. “Their lives were enriched by the music.”
The price of admission, a free will offering, and CD purchases following the concert go directly to support the College of Fine Arts Endowment which allows the Fine Arts program at North Central to provide new technology for the students and a musical outreach program to the community.