A Wonderfully ‘Cool’ Winter Concert
Jon Smith

A Wonderfully ‘Cool’ Winter Concert




Red & Blue Staff Writers

Almost every year around Christmas time, Alliance High School's orchestra holds a winter concert. This year’s concert was a bit different.

For one thing, the orchestra and choirs combined to perform several pieces. The Concert Choir, Choralaires and Jetsetters sang individually and as a group under the direction of Ms. Carrie Chunat.

For another, the concert had a theme of “Christmas Around the World” which introduced music from different cultures ranging from Russia to Africa.

The concert also had something else that was very different. For the song “Hallelujah,” the orchestra was conducted by the Reverend Jonathan Turner, director of International Voices of Praise, the gospel choir at the University of Mount Union. He is also the director of Voices of Testimony, the gospel choir for Kent State University.

“It was a big change for the orchestra not having the conductor (Crystal Sabik) that we’re used to,” said Paige Lilly, a junior who plays violin, adding that she enjoyed the experience.

This is not the first year that the choirs and Orchestra have done combined pieces. Last year they did “The Christmas Song” or as some like to call it, “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire.” That piece is a joyful song that definitely gets you in the mood for the holiday season.

“Hallelujah” is more of a spiritual song that relates to the reason that Christmas came about. It’s a gospel/funk mix based on Leonard Cohen's version.

“This song is a great place for worlds to meet,” said Rev. Turner. “This song is beautiful but has a funk and groove thrown in. It’s for all walks of life, all shapes, sizes and colors.”

Some students found it’s a song that can get stuck in your head.

“The song can be addicting, especially the chorus,” said Aleigh Johnson, a freshman choir member.

The Orchestra also performed “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “African Bell Carol” and “Christmas Time in Russia” to reflect the multicultural theme.

We all know the story of Rudolph, a reindeer with a bright red, glowing nose. But this year a lot of Latin American themes and rhythms were added to the song, which has been around for 77 years.

“Christmas in Russia” is a song that is fast and upbeat, with parts from several different traditional Russian songs. “African Bell Carol” is a mix between the holiday classic “Carol of the Bells” and something else entirely. It features drums, tapping on the bodies of the instruments, and lots of beautiful sounds from all the orchestra’s instruments.

Ms. Sabik said the orchestra started practicing as soon as their “Strings Spooktacular” concert ended in October and has been working really hard to make this winter concert special.

“This concert included such a variety of performances, from a variety of groups, and it was a pleasure to be involved,” said Ms. Carrie Chunat, the choir director. “I am proud that we could showcase so many different performing ensembles and give our students opportunities like these at Alliance High School.”