On Nov. 30, The School of Arts and Sciences and The Department of Language Studies and the Arts presented “A Saint Leo Christmas” an annual holiday music event.
The concert took place in the Black Box Theatre in the Benedictine Hall at 7 p.m. and was organized and directed by Dr. Cynthia Selph, Director of Saint Leo Singers and Chamber Singers and Assistant Professor of Music. This was Selph’s eighth time assisting with the event.
“A Saint Leo Christmas is annual event on campus and normally takes place this time of the fall semester,” explained Selph. “This event was planned in the summer and it took almost five weeks to put the songs together and to practice with the students.”
The concert consisted of many Saint Leo Groups, such as the Saint Leo Singers, Saint Leo Chamber Singers, Just the FACTS, Saint Leo Strings, Totally TABS, and the Saint Leo Rhythm Machine.
The Rhythm Machine is composed of Debra Sailor (percussion), Mauricio J. Rodriguez (Bass & director of Saint Leo Rhythm Machine), Josh Dampier (Guest violin soloist), Kasia Dolinska (Violin & director of Saint Leo strings), Pamela DeCius (Director of Totally TABS) and Inna Korotkevitch (pianist).
The various groups performed a medley of beloved holiday songs, including: “Deck the Halls,” “Frosty the Snow Man,” “I Saw Three Ships,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Amid the Winter Snow,” “What Child Is This?,” “Winter Is at Hand,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “The World for Christmas,” “Jingle Bells,” “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow,” “Last Christmas,” “Text Me Merry Christmas,” “Hark How the Bells,” “O Holy Night,” “Silent Night,” “No Eye Has Seen,” “Rejoice! How Great Our Joy,” and, last but not least, “Joy to the World.”
Many of the performers had been practicing their numbers for months in advance.
“I have been practicing for this concert since October,” said Katriel Grant- Hope, a junior sociology major with a music minor, who performed with the Saint Leo Singers and the Chamber Singers.
“I wanted to perform to embrace music,” continued Grant-Hope. “And because it is important, especially for other’s holiday.”
Dr. Selph felt that the performance went well and that both the audience and the performers had a wonderful time. She also gives a lot of the credit to Jennifer Orendorf, Administrator of Events and Special Programs, and all of the Directors of the different music groups.
“The students did a great job,” said Selph. “The Christmas Concert Planning Team assisted with lights, decorations, sound and the stage.”
“A Saint Leo Christmas” continues to prove the perfect way to kick off the holiday season. Rave reviews from students made it an instant hit.
Raychard Ferguson, a sophomore multi-media management major, came “to help and assist with the lighting for the concert.” This is not Ferguson’s first time attending this concert. He enjoyed every bit of this year’s performance and felt that the singers did very well.
Others were big fans of the instrumental section. Tamara Rodriguez, a junior sports business major, found herself enchanted by the violin.
“The guest violinist was my absolutely favorite part of the concert,” exclaimed Rodriguez. “It melted my heart.”
Some students, like Anna Reckley, a freshman political science, were attending the concert for the first time.
“My teachers told me about it,” explained Reckley. “I was excited because it was a Christmas production.”
“I came to support friends who were singing,” added Rodriguez. “And because it would get me into the Christmas spirit.”
David Cameron once said that “Christmas gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect on the important things around us – a time when we can look back on the year that has passed and prepare for the year ahead.”
The annual concert achieved this goal. “A Saint Leo Christmas” successfully brought students and faculty together to ring in the holiday season and bid farewell to another successful semester.