Chorus holds winter concert

The voices of the AHS Chorus department echoed throughout the auditorium Tuesday night, Dec. 15, as they performed their winter concert. This was their second concert of the year.

“We like this one better because the songs are better, happier,” senior chorus member Hannah Shartel said.

The event kicked off with the locally popular a cappella group, Empyrean Heights, performing a medley they composed themselves that they like to call “The EH Christmedley.”

The group consists of Chorus members and seniors Tabitha Barnes, Shawn de Lopez, Jamiah Harrison, Leif Jomuad, Aldwin Pagulayan and junior Ben Betts.

“We sang a Christmas medley mash up consisting of Hark the Herald Angels, Angels We Have Heard on High, Silent Night and Mary Did You Know,” Harrison said.

After they opened the show, the Women’s Choir took the stage, dressed head-to-toe in black, and preformed “Angel’s Carol” by John Rutter and “O Sing Out With Pleasure” by G. F. Handel.

When they concluded and took their seats, another filled section of the auditorium rose and made their way to the stage.

The Select Women’s Ensemble performed “Aurora Lucis Rutilat” by Andrea Ramey. They then took the challenge to perform a number completely in traditional Hebrew called “S’Vivon,” arranged by Betty Bertaux.

Each member of the ensemble then put on a santa hat and sung “Holiday Blessing” by Joyce Eilers, encouraging the audience to sing along towards the end.

A single percussionist, Andrew Laulor, took center stage with a drum as the next group, the Men’s Chorale, began to sing “African Noel,” arranged by Andre J. Thomas.

The boys then, like the previous group, sang a song completely in Hebrew, “El Yivneh Hagalil” arranged by Peter Sozio.

The audience erupted with laughter in response to their final performance, “Jingle Bells” by John Pierpont, due to the choreography that they paired with the classic song.

When all the boys left the stage, Michael McLean and Kathy Strong stood alone with blank expressions and bells in their hand. As they shook their bells and the sound rang out rhythmically, the back doors opened and the Annandale singers entered slowly and made their way towards the stage while singing “Personent Hodie” by Piae Cantoes to the crime of the bells. “O Magnum Mysterium” by Thomas Luis de Victoria, “Exsultate Justi” by Ludovico da Viadana, “The Winter’s Night” by Nicholas Myers and “Deck the Hall” arranged by John Rutter were the group’s next selections. “Nyon Nyon” by Jake Runestad was their final piece, where they clapped and stomped along with it which enacted the loudest applause from the audience.

“For the Annadale singers I was worried about the amount of songs we were singing but we pulled it together and we got good feedback,” Shartel said.

All the choirs combined for the final two performances of the evening. Charnice Frazier, a James Madison University choral music intern, taught and conducted the singers under Choral Director Jessica Irish for the songs “Winter’s Night,” “Nyon Nyon,” and the first of the two final performances, “Carol of the Bells” arranged by Peter Wihousky.

For the final carol of the night, they broke their uniform set up with students spread out throughout the stage, some sitting on the edge while a screen descended from the ceiling. The combined choir ended the event with “Text Me Merry Christmas” arranged by Roger Emerson. The screen showed a text conversation reciting the lyrics of the song as the right and left side sung to each other. The choir was interrupted by three soloists, Vivian Dinh, singing individually, and Janu Gellert and Georgia Stenberg having a quick exchange of words intended to make the audience laugh.

When asked about the concert as a whole, Harrison described it as an “uplifting and an adorable way to kick off the holiday season.”

With two more concerts this year, the chorus department will continue to bring joy to their audiences through their music and their gift for song.