Many of us believe that a big part of Christmastime celebrations is enjoying seasonal music with friends and family, whether it be through caroling, the radio, or one of the many Christmas television shows that pop up this time of year. At La Porte High School, though, they take it one step further- Live performances of classic and new Christmas music that everyone can love, curtesy of the LPHS Winter Choral Concert.
This year’s concert, which runs Wednesday and Thursday, December 6th and 7th, represents the last concert series performed by La Porte High School’s various choirs in the school’s old auditorium, which is slated to be torn down and replaced after the series is finished.
There was something for everyone at the 2017 LPHS Winter Choral Concert- classic favorites like “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” to older, traditional carols and hymns such as the Wenceslas Canon, and “Shepherds, Awake!”, to newer, quirkier music such as Nathan Howe’s “I Want to Stare at My Phone with You.”
For the students, this event not only represents the culmination of many weeks of practice and preparation, but also a sense of family and companionship.
Brandon Gurrola is a senior in the Show Choir and Mixed Chorale, so these aspects of chorale music are at the forefront.
“What I like about doing chorale is that it’s just like one big family,” explained Gurrola. “We all get to know each other pretty well, especially from an early time- before we even have rehearsal, we have a huge choir retreat where we get to know each other and bond more. It’s the same thing for show choir- everybody knows each other, everybody knows what’s going on.”
Julie-Ann Thiem, a senior at La Porte, believes the bonds formed between members of the various choirs are also important.
“We form such great bonds with each other,” said Thiem. “We practice day-in and day-out, and it’s so much fun. We all love each other.”
For other students, it’s the art of music and performance that really draws them in. For Geovanny Tapia, another senior in Show Choir and Mixed Chorale, he enjoys the ways different people can come together to make something beautiful.
“There’s nothing cooler than getting a whole group of people together who don’t really have any connection to each other outside of the class and just all of a sudden make this wonderful music together out of the blue,” said Tapia.
The show began after an hour-long warm up with a procession of each of the performing choirs- Beginning Women’s Chorus, Intermediate Women’s Chorus, Men’s Chorus, Treble Chorale, Mixed Chorale, and Show Choir lined the stage and each of the aisles, the house completely black except for the candles held by each student.
The effect was an almost somber quality to the music, with different students around the house singing at different times to create a stereo effect. It culminated in a rousing song-and-dance performance by show choir before concluding with every choir on stage for songs from perennial favorite, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” as well as classic carols such as “O Tannenbaum.”
It was this somber mood starting out that sets this concert apart from others that LPHS holds. As Tapia put it, “It is so beautiful. It’s a very pious experience, very humbling.”
Other students like Shania Povlock, a senior member of Show Choir and Mixed Chorale, enjoy singing and dancing, activities that both Show Choir and Mixed Chorale provide.
“I’ve always liked to sing and act and dance,” said Povlock. “In Show Choir especially, you’re singing and dancing, which is the best of both worlds.”
While the concert itself was excellent, it’s bittersweet for many seniors who have spent their musical careers performing on this soon-to-be-replaced stage.
“I’m sad to see [the old auditorium] go,” said Gurrola. “I’ve done all my shows at the high school on that stage. It’s sad to see it go, but I’m happy that we’re going to be finally getting a new one.”
Whether it’s the music, the dancing, the Christmas Spirit, or the camaraderie, there’s something for everyone at the LPHS Winter Choral Concert. And soon, with the construction of a new auditorium on the horizon, we can all look forward to concerts in a brand-new venue.