September 30, 2020

College Choirs ring in ‘Yuletide Celebrations’

By Bipasha Chatterjee

Family and friends were eager to enjoy the Yuletide Celebrations, a concert hosted by the TCNJ Choirs on the night of Saturday, Dec. 2, in Mildred and Ernest E. Mayo Concert Hall.

Students sing a collection of carols. (Meagan McDowell / Photo Assistant)
Students sing a collection of carols. (Meagan McDowell / Photo Assistant)

Little room was left for any emotion short of excitement. Few seats remained empty as the College Choir, the first group to perform, filed into the hall and arranged themselves on the second level to face the audience.

As the concert began with a mellow rendition of “I Wonder as I Wander,” the audience quickly became captivated by how effortlessly their voices had entwined.

“I thought there were really great performances,” said sophomore interactive multimedia major Rachel Zook. “I wasn’t sure what to expect before the concert started, but it wasn’t difficult to see how much time and effort these groups contributed to make sure this was an entertaining night for everyone.”

The College Choir and TCNJ’s Chorale performed 15 songs in total, ranging from heartfelt ballads to lively carols that echoed throughout the room. The groups were so committed to hosting a jovial evening for all that they performed holiday songs in different languages as well.

Transitions between each performance were virtually flawless. As the choir descended down the steps and took their places onstage, they surrounded the pianist and faced the audience with accompaniment from bongo players who posed center-stage.

Each song was followed by only a fraction of a pause before the room erupted in applause. To watch parents and friends look up at their loved ones with such pride was truly a sight to see.

Nicholas McBride, professor of Choral Music Education at the College, conducted part of the concert and felt immense pride after the concert had ended.

“I was very pleased with both choirs’ performances, but as a conductor of college choirs, I was really thrilled with what they did,” McBride said.

After the choir concluded their set, they exited from the stage meticulously poised just as they had entered, but the audience remained seated. When the lights dimmed and the pianist returned to commence a new song, vocals emerged from the side stage, leaving audience members perplexed.

The College’s Chorale, the second group to perform, made their way onto the stage as they resumed the melodic vocals, and arranged themselves to surround the pianist. The women were dressed in long matching black gowns while the men donned tuxedos, completing the well-rehearsed entrance with their well-dressed presentation.

They were smaller in size compared to the first group, but that did not translate into their voice. They were confident, singing each ballad with such emotion and pride that audience members rarely looked away until it was time for well-deserved applause.

The choir returned for a combined performance of “Adestes Fideles” with the members of the chorale, ending the concert with a powerful rendition as the harmonies and vocals slowly built up to a passionate crescendo.

What drove the performances in the humble auditorium of Mayo, however, was not just the versatile song selection and rehearsals. It was confidence that truly empowered the members on stage and allowed them to create such a memorable night.

Terese Brower, a sophomore criminology student and a member of the College’s Choir, felt that the concert accurately showcased the full potential of each group.

“I think we really moved the crowd and portrayed all of the emotion we wanted to,” Brower said.

The performances given by both choirs, enmeshed with endless applause and cheers from the audience after the concert had ended, left McBride feeling hopeful for future events.

“I think they raised the bar, so I will continue to hopefully raise the bar with them,” McBride said.

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