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Choir celebrates holidays with concert, performs European carols

Molly Archer, Staff Writer

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On Monday, Dec. 12, the OHS Choir gave their “Carols at the Cathedral” show at North Oxford Baptist church to celebrate the holiday season.

This concert tested the musical abilities of the choir students, as well as offered a wider variety of songs for the audience through their performances of European carols rather than American tunes.

“I think it’s our job to educate the general public,” Ardrey said. “I educate the students as they learn music, and then we would perform it. The students then get to educate the audience members.”

The women’s ensemble opened up with a performance of “The Holly and the Joy,” with sophomore Sarah Beth Mullen playing cello. They continued with “The Coventry Carol,” with freshman Kamecia Lloyd playing flute, and ended their section’s performance with “Bring a Torch Jeannette Isabella.” These first few selections set the foundation for the carols to follow.

The men’s chorus followed the women’s ensemble with performances of “O Magnum Mysterium” and “Psallitc.” The chamber choir continued with carols such as “Guadete,” “Hodic Christus Natus Est” and “Sing we Now of Christmas.”

Each performance was received enthusiastically by the audience, but especially after the choir seniors gave their rendition of “Silent Night.”

The concert was concluded with each choir combining with the OHS orchestra in “Hallelujah” as the audience stood from their seats, which is the tradition for this specific song, according to Ardrey.

“I told them once we get there and we perform it with the orchestra, and you see everybody standing up, it’s going to be really cool. I could tell in their faces that they were kind of wide-eyed,” Ardrey said.

The OHS choir has never sung foreign carols before, which proved to be challenging at times for some of the singers, according to sophomore LilaGrace Lara, who sings with the women’s ensemble.

“The hardest ones were ‘Gaudete’ and ‘Hallelujah,’” Lara said. “‘Gaudete’ was in Latin, so the hardest part about it was the pronunciation. ‘Hallelujah’ was difficult simply because the rhythms were difficult and some of the notes were really high.”

Ardrey stated that he chose these carols to show his students a variety of songs that they may not have heard in the past.

“I think that it was interesting because I liked some of the songs,” freshman Cady Pittman, who also sings with the women’s ensemble, said. “They had more of a fascinating undertone to them than say, ‘Jingle Bells.’”

As the choir continues to grow, Ardrey wants to find ways to continue testing his students as they host and attend more concerts in the future.

“I feel like it’s my job to give them the opportunity to experience, learn and sing music that they normally wouldn’t get to,” Ardrey said. “Things like doing the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus with an orchestra — that’s not really something that most high school choirs get to experience.”

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Choir celebrates holidays with concert, performs European carols