Arts Groups Begin Holidays With Yuletide Carols, Dancing

As finals approach, students involved in various performing arts groups at Boston College put on several productions throughout the month of December to showcase the different talents of the student body and help others relax and enjoy the Christmas season.

Boston College Chamber Music Society Christmas Concert
Monday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in Gasson 100
Directed by Sandra Hebert
Performances by students of the Boston College Chamber Music Society

The Boston College Chamber Music Society has grown from a small club into one of the most prominent performing arts groups on campus, performing more than ten concerts each year. Traditionally composed of small ensemble groups such as string quartets, flute trios, and piano duets, the society has grown to include ensembles of other instruments as well as fostering the development of offshoot projects such as OpShop, an opera workshop, BC Baroque, a Baroque music group, and Liederabend, “song evening” in German, a group of guest soloists. Performing throughout the year, the society’s Dec. 8 concert will feature OpShop and the piano ensemble in addition to traditional instrumental chamber music and solo performances.

The music department at BC, though small, is nevertheless a tightly-knit community ideal for both experienced players, who have more opportunities in the field available to them, and students with less experience, who are able to improve their skills and maintain their interest in music.

A lifetime lover of chamber music, Sandra Hebert, director of the Chamber Music Society, advocates for the continued growth of the music department beyond its current 100-student enrollment, saying that the department reaches out and welcomes new musicians. “Kids who don’t know each other become great friends,” Hebert said, proud of the growth and friendship among the students.

The audience can enjoy live music on Dec. 8 in Gasson 100. Hebert hopes that the event will not only expose more people to the beauty that is chamber music, but also increase their interest in pursuing the study of music. The BC Chamber Music Society encourages the development of camaraderie among its members through the enjoyment of playing music and creating art.

Music at St. Mary’s
Tuesday, Dec. 9 at 4:00 p.m. in St. Mary’s Chapel
Directed by John Finney
Performances by students of the University Chorale of Boston College

The recent construction at St. Mary’s Hall has done nothing to stop the music sung by the University Chorale of Boston College. Music at St. Mary’s is a series of concerts that normally takes place in St. Mary’s Chapel, but has recently been held in Gasson 100. John Finney, director of the University Chorale, will conduct students as they perform holiday music from countries around the world such as France, Spain, England, Germany, and Ukraine, as well as feature selections from Handel’s “Messiah.”

The audience can enjoy a wide range of global Christmas music and is invited to sing along to familiar carols, taking part in the beauty of singing as an art form. “Singing is unique among the performing arts in that the performer’s ‘instrument’ is the human voice,” Finney said. “In addition to creating beautiful sounds with their voices, singers proclaim texts and can relate to the audience both through the beauty of the sound of their voices and through the expression of their presentation of the words they sing.”

On Dec. 9, the chorale will resume its tradition of performing in St. Mary’s Chapel, a campus highlight with high-quality acoustics perfectly tailored for future concerts.

A Christmas Festival
Tuesday, Dec. 9 at 8:00 p.m. in Gasson 100
Directed by Sebastian Bonaiuto and David Healey
Performances by students of the University Wind Ensemble and the Symphonic Band

A Christmas Festival is a medley of holiday-themed music that will feature traditional Christmas carols, selections from Alfred Reed’s “Russian Christmas Music”—which features music from Russian Orthodox Christmas liturgies—and songs from The Nutcracker. In addition to these selections, non-denominational pieces such as “Lux Aurumque,” “Greensleeves,” and selections from Frozen will augment the holiday-themed concert.

Sebastian Bonaiuto, director of bands, and David Healey, marching band director, will conduct performances by students in the University Wind Ensemble and the Symphonic Band. “Ensemble instrumental music requires exceptional precision and attention to detail,” both directors said. “Instrumental music is abstract and evocative and, in that way, inspires and stirs the emotions of the listener.”

The performance is the culminating event of the wind bands’ performing schedule for the semester and is popular with BC students, the student musicians’ families, and members of the greater BC community. The bands’ last concert will take place in Gasson 100 on Dec. 9th.

Christmas Reflections
Friday, Dec.19 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 20 at 3:00 p.m., and Sunday, Dec.21 at 3:00 p.m. in Robsham Theater Arts Center
Choreography by Robert VerEecke, S.J. and Helen O’Dwyer
Directed by Jamie Huggins, Carol Faherty, and Daisy Giunta
Performances by the Boston Liturgical Dance Ensemble

Christmas Reflections began as an offshoot project of the 28-year-long traditional Boston Christmas production, A Dancer’s Christmas, which drew professional dancers from all over the country to perform on stage at BC. Father Robert VerEecke, S.J., Jesuit artist in-residence, is the choreographer for a new production that retells the story of Christmas through dance, story, and song, creating a spectacle fit for the whole family.

The audience is challenged to use their imagination to reflect on the meaning of Christmas as dancers and actors of all ages perform on stage. A “storyteller” narrates the events of the production and has the audience participate by interacting with the performers. The company is composed of BC alumni, members of the Boston Liturgical Ensemble, and students from dancing companies from around the world. The production includes excerpts from A Dancer’s Christmas and features a section of Irish step dancing choreographed by Helen O’Dwyer, head of the O’Dwyer School of Irish Dancing.

The kinesthetic, physical, and visual appeal is vital to the performance. “Whenever a dancer leaps or turns, the audience’s bodies feel that, too,” VerEecke said. “The Christmas spirit is contagious, and we are able to physically express the feelings we have: joy, wonder, and celebration. The dancing element offers a refreshing take on the story of Christmas.” The celebration of Christmas at BC is significant to VerEecke in that it focuses on the incarnation of Jesus Christ. “God wants to dance with us,” VerEecke said, finding God in the performing arts. All three performances will take place in Robsham Theater Arts Center from Dec. 19th through Dec. 21.

 

Featured Image by Clare Kim / Heights Staff

About Kayla Fernando 27 Articles
Kayla Fernando is the Assistant Features Editor for The Heights. She's an aspiring scientist who also writes for the newspaper. She's just as confused as you are. You can follow her on Twitter @kayla_fernando.