Celebrations of Light

The stage in the Edgerton Center was decorated with Christmas trees when the red curtains opened up in time for an audience full of students and families to watch the Blended Hearts choral group sing “Candlelight Carol”—the first of many songs sung about Christmas and the holidays at Sacred Heart University’s Performing Arts Choral Program’s Celebrations of Light Holiday Concert.

This concert was put together under the direction of Irina Georgieva and held on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. It included performances by choral groups such as Blended Hearts, Concert Choir, 4 Heart Harmony, Liturgical Choir and Gospel Choir.

Junior Lauren Iacoviello, a member of SHU’s Concert Choir, said, “We have had two rehearsals a week since the middle of October for this concert, so a lot of hard work has gone into making sure we put on a good show for our audience.”

The show “explores familiar Christmas carols, as well as less familiar works from the traditions of Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Diwali and other beautiful celebrations of light from around the world,” according to the Edgerton Center for Performing Arts website.

“Irina often told us that the Christmas season isn’t always a time for everyone,” said Iacoviello. “So, our segment was more about incorporating how different people experience the season.”

Between the songs “Morning Song” and “Moonlight,” sung by Concert Choir, Georgieva read poems that included the lyrics in order for the audience to further understand what the songs were about.

“Personally, I feel like our songs go with the show’s theme that with negativity can come some positivity,” said sophomore Bianca Blasi, a member of SHU’s Concert Choir. “Our first two songs, ‘Two Moon Songs,’ are very bleak and very alone, but then you get the third song, ‘The Gift to Sing,’ which is meant to make you happy.”

Another choral group that performed was 4 Heart Harmony, conducted by Christopher Grundy. Their segment of the show included songs from different cultures and an interaction with the audience during their song “Ocho Kandelikas,” where they were able to sing along with the performers.

Along with the audience interaction, 4 Heart Harmony’s segment included a performance of the song “In the Bleak Midwinter” with guest singers from Cooperative Educational Services (CES) Regional Center for the Arts (RCA)—a part-time high school for students interested in performing arts.

“My favorite part of the show was definitely when the younger students from the RCA came out as guest singers,” said junior audience member Kristina Tocio. “To me, it seemed like it really showed what the theme of the show was all about—inclusion and the celebration of different experiences.”

At the end of the show, the Gospel Choir sang “We are the World.” Once again, this involved an audience interaction because on the last refrain, the other choral groups that previously sang went out into the audience to get the audience involved in singing along.

Lastly, after the performance, a QR code was shown to give audience members an opportunity to donate to hurricane relief.

“The fact that the show was in support of hurricane relief also shows what the Celebrations of Light theme means to me,” said Blasi. “It can mean that the holidays may not be a happy time for everybody, but there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.”

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