As the semester draws to a close, APU students look forward to finishing classes, Christmas, and having three weeks of no school. The days before the finish line are long and riddled with loads of work, pain, tears, and intense fatigue. However, APU’s choirs and music ensembles combine their talents to bring the Christmas season to students and guests creating a fun and enjoyable experience for all.
Celebrate Christmas is an annual event that happens each year. It brings out the wonderful side of Christmas while reminding audience members about the birth of Jesus. “Celebrate Christmas is a time when APU’s school of music kicks off the Christmas season by bringing many of its choir’s ensembles together in one wonderful showcase of holiday spirit to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ,” said junior English major/music minor and Bel Canto member Caitlin Fredlock.
Finals are right around the corner, Christmas shopping, essays, and projects are on one’s to do list. Students have so much that has to get done in three weeks, yet the students involved in Celebrate Christmas take time from their schedule to rehearse. They work tirelessly in order to deliver a jaw dropping performance.
“Each of the ensembles have been rehearsing their individual pieces for months, some ensembles began rehearsing their individual pieces at the beginning of the semester,” said Fredlock. “All of the choirs have rehearsed together for the past two weeks and had a three hour rehearsal at the venue (Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena) and on Thursday we have an all afternoon rehearsal and dress rehearsal from roughly 2:00-7:00.”
Fredlock explains that Celebrate Christmas is comprised of roughly around 400 students, 150 being instrumental; this is the one time when all these groups gather together for a concert. “To me it’s really amazing, because it just involves everyone in the School of Music and it’s not only music majors that are involved,” said senior music education major and UCO member Schanelle Heredia. “It just brings everyone together under one purpose for the glory of God, and serves as a reminder for why we are here and why we celebrate Christmas.”
At Celebrate Christmas the attendees not only sit and watch the performance but are encouraged to sing along with the songs at times. “I definitely think that incorporating the audience and having them sing with us, just makes everyone forget that it is a concert,” said Heredia.
The fact that the audience is included turns this into something more than just sitting and listening. Heredia is excited that the audience gets included and sing with the choirs. It becomes a communal gathering as opposed to playing the game of staring at the performers or staring at the wall.
“They got at the fun side of the season while also getting at the fact that they believe Christmas is about Christ’s birth. It was communal and worshipful, while also a typical Christmas song that makes you think about what you’re really singing,” said Amanda DiMarcangelo, a regular member of Lake Avenue Church and Target Executive Team Leader.
DiMarcangelo is describing how during the song “Joy to the World” the audience was told to stand on their feet and sing with words in the Playbill if needed. The Handbell Choir plays a magical tune with a glow in the dark performance, while The Man Choir also sings a fun and hilarious version of the 12 days of Christmas.
This celebration is amazing and important to all and not just APU students, because it reminds us just how important and fun this season is. So whether the holiday season is filled with stress, tests, or lack of Christmas spirit, this concert invites students and families to take a break from the stress of the season and enjoy a little Christmas cheer.