“Songs of Sanctuary: A Concert Against Bullying”

Students’ powerful singing voices filled the Chapel Narthex at dusk on Wednesday, Nov. 3. The “Songs of Sanctuary: A Concert Against Bullying” was held by Sacred Heart University’s Choral Program to aim for awareness and prevention against bullying. 

This concert was performed by some of Sacred Heart’s Choral Programs such as “4 Heart Harmony” and “Blended Hearts.”

A song that 4 Heart Harmony performed was “Like A River In My Soul” by Tim Osiek. Blended Hearts was able to perform their own songs as well, one of them being “True Colors” by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. In addition to this, senior Olivia Cifali, senior Jaclyn Montano and senior Mattew Ferri all performed their own solos.  

The purpose of this concert was not only to draw awareness to bullying, but to also help spread positivity and courage among one another in the SHU community.  

“The inspiration for this concert comes from the emphasis on October’s National Bullying Prevention Month,” said senior and choir President Benjamin Bello. “The concert represents the voice that someone has and the way they use that voice can lead someone to have a more confident future or it could go the other way and turn someone down.”

The Choral Program made it their mission during this concert to make the audience feel and understand bullying more than they had ever before.

“What I hope the audience gained out of this concert is a change in their perspective and understanding about why it is important to have a concert like the annual anti-bullying concert,” said Bello.  “I also hope they gain a better understanding about what the term bullying means and how many different ways it can be used to describe something.”

Mattew Cimino, Director of Blended Hearts, had a similar vision of the purpose of the concert. 

 “I hope that our audience comes away feeling that the music and stories being told give them the boost of positivity we are all striving to work toward from a challenging year and a half,” said Cimino. 

Some of these performances have been in the works since before Covid-19.

 “In addition, I am excited to say we now have the opportunity for soloists from those choirs who worked on songs via the virtual world last year singing live due to the strict limitation of singing,” said Ciminio. 

This performance, although a tradition at SHU, was held between the Choral Program’s family weekend concert and Christmas concert, leading to a hectic schedule for the performers. 

“They have been preparing for this in a short amount of time, so I am thrilled that our dedicated and talented singers are stepping up to present an inspirational musical moment,” said Ciminio. 

Although the concert was put together in a short span of time, the quality of the performances weren’t rushed.

“I was very proud of the choir and how our concert turned out!” said junior Anna Morel, Vice President of choir. “This mini concert was put together in a short span of time following our family weekend concert. However, I am truly proud of the performance SHU choirs put on.” 

After the performances, Reverend Sara D. Smith, Sacred Heart’s Protestant Chaplin, gave a speech on the topic of bullying. 

“As always, Reverend Sara spoke so powerfully and just added a whole other level of excellence to the evening,” said Morel. 

Sacred Heart’s Choral Program’s next performance is “A Christmas Choral Extravaganza: An Irish Christmas Celebration,” on Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the Edgerton Center. 

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