On Dec. 3 and 4 Alma College celebrated the beginning of the holiday season with the Festival of Carols.
For many years, the Festival of Carols has been a tradition on campus.
It is a time where the Alma Choirs and Chamber Orchestra come together and open the doors of the Remick Heritage Center for the entire community.
The Alma Choir has worked on Festival of Carols months in advance and this w as their fourth program this semester.
The performance began with the song “O Come, All Ye Faithful ” followed by a few other well-known songs such as “Away in a Manger,” “Hark the Herald Angel Sing” and “The First Noel.”
The program was recorded professionally Dec. 1 in a private rehearsal as well as on the days of the actual performances themselves. The Alma College YouTube page has recordings from these performances as well as ones from previous years.
The Chorale and the Alma Choir rehearsed from three to five days weekly for multiple songs including the latter for their hour performance to end the semester.
“I like to perform, but I really love to rehearse, and I love spending time with the singers, so I never get tired of rehearsal,” said Secrest Professor of Music Will Nichols.
Additionally, the Choir needed to focus singing on unison despite their numbers.
“They know all the notes and rhythms, we are just trying to polish the performance which can be a challenge with forty or fifty people singing all at once. The Marching Band does that in their marching and we are trying to do the exact thing with our words and the music we are singing,” said Nichols.
Out of these holiday songs, “this music is to give a bit of peace because we’re not singing super energetic songs, we want them to have enjoyment because that’s the kind of holiday season, it’s about enjoying this time and celebration of faith and togetherness, however, you want to interpret them,” said David Troyer (’24).
Celebrating the holiday season is not only about experiencing joy, but also sharing that joy.
“These songs showcase that because of our combined efforts, our combined musicality: instrumental and vocal. We also are singing songs from different cultures where we have a French carol, an English carol and songs that people know really well and some songs that they probably never heard before. We want to also show the inclusivity of the season as well,” said Troyer.
The Chamber Orchestra has also been rehearsing alongside the Alma Choirs with equal efforts. With the help of Co-Conductor Takeshi Abo, those like Abigail Skerik, a violinist and following concertmaster, have gotten the chance to work in collaboration with the Choirs to celebrate the holiday.
“I have really enjoyed rehearsing both with just the other strings and also the experience of getting to play with the choir and some wind instruments for the first time in a while,” said Abigail Skerik (’23).
The Alma Choirs and the Chamber Orchestra’s collaboration has brought new experiences and the aspiration to bring joy to start the holiday season.
“I just hope the audience enjoys the performance and that all the carols get everybody in high spirits for the holidays coming up. I think it will be very exciting to show everybody what we have been working on and I hope the audience enjoys the entire show,” said Skerik.