The Chamber Singers and the University Chorale performed renditions of traditional and modern holiday songs Sunday at the La Verne Church of the Brethren.
The Choral Holiday Spectacular Concert, part of the Sundays at the Morgan series, also showcased music performed by student musicians before a full house.
Some of the better-known holiday songs included, “Let it Snow!” and “Ave Maria,” as well as the Jewish traditional piece, “Hine Ma Tov.”
The concert included sing-alongs: “Jingle Bells,” “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” and “Joy to the World,” allowing the audience to join in and get involved in the holiday spirit.
The song “Noel” featured solos and duets, with principal performers in the the middle of an aisle walkway in the audience.
The quietness of the Pentatonix piece “That’s Christmas To Me” relaxed the audience, which was what conductor and choral director Irene Messoloras said she intended.
She said that she wanted the audience to feel completely immersed in the experience.
“We wanted to bring people wonderful holiday music … and for the students to perform music that would push them in their musical journey, from learning different styles to different languages,” Messoloras said.
“I wanted to be sensitive to everyone’s background… We incorporated traditional music, more popular contemporary music, gospel styles and different elements of Hanukkah,” she said.
Most songs were accompanied by the piano. Some included additional instruments such as the shaker, flute and drums.
Even Santa came out during the performance of “Jingle Bells.” “My goal for the program is really to create energy on campus,” Messoloras said.
“We have so much talent within our student body and we want to highlight it and feature it in any way possible,” she said.
The church concert hall was packed.
Many of the audience members were family of the performers. Adjunct Professor of Management Ali Mossaver-Rahmani came to watch his daughter Lorali, a sophomore music major, sing and play the drums.
“I have been to every concert for the past two years and I love the diversity it brings. Irene is the real deal, the core of the community and she creates a sense of belonging,” Mossaver-Rahmani said.
The last performance “Go Where I Send Thee” featured a solo by sophomore broadcast major Preston Parker, president of choir.
“It is fantastic; it has been the biggest crowd in 40 years,” Reed Gratz, professor of music, said. “Irene made this happen, she’s a great director and her magnetism attracts people.”
The chamber singers and choir received a standing ovation at the end.
Sharon Lau can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.