December 7, 2011
Kerr Residence Center lobby was transformed into a stage Wednesday evening for Kerr Christmas. It was hosted by Campus Activity Board and directed by Jake Hooten and Katie Denny. Carolers and five acts sang many Christmas songs including "Jingle Bells", "Away in a Manger" and "O Holy Night."
Kerr Christmas is a celebration of the Christmas season. “Kerr Christmas,” said Hooten, “is a Christmas themed talent show for the students of OBU to enjoy. It gives the students a little bit of fun and helps prepare them for the Christmas season.”
It is similar to Biggie and Freshman Follies with different acts and emcees, but uses carolers to get the crowd involved instead of a band. “It is different than Biggie and Follies in a few ways. First of all, it is obviously in Kerr lobby and not in Raley Chapel.
Another main difference is that all the acts, carolers and emcees are chosen by the directors themselves without any help from CAB, besides suggestions of course. There is no stage band, but instead carolers that help the crowd with interaction during transitions. Lastly, it is not restricted to any certain class,” said Hooten.
The acts, carolers and emcees were chosen by the co-directors. “As co-directors, we are responsible for every aspect of Kerr Christmas. With the other shows, CAB helps with ideas, tryouts and getting things to come together. For Kerr Christmas, the co-directors have to work together to get the show ready. We came together, and we tried to pick out students that are not readily recognized by the OBU community. We wanted to try and get some great talent out there,” Hooten said.
The freshman band Zach and bax was one of the acts asked to perform. “Our lead singer Zach Cramer got asked after Freshmen Follies if the band would sing a song at Kerr Christmas,” said band member Jonathan Polasek.
The carolers included Daniel Ray, Sam Henderson and Leslie Fort. “A caroler has the job of serenading the audience while providing the acts and emcees time to set up,” said Ray. “We randomly chose nine songs as we wrote our skits: Frosty the Snowman, Deck the Halls, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Silent Night, Away in a Manger, Feliz Navidad, Joy to the World, Jingle Bells and Santa Clause is Coming to Town.”
Students went for many different reasons. “I’ve never been to a CAB show, and I heard that this one is homier because it’s in Kerr lobby,” said Sophomore Marianne Brake.
Several students complained about a lack of space. “Kerr needs to expand, because there’s no room, but it would lose the homey effect being in Raley Chapel,” said Brake.
Some go early to reserve seats because of the lack of space. “I think people go early to get there,” said Junior Amanda Kirby. “There may be some people that don’t go because of the crowd, but I think that’s a limited number. There are other options, like Biggie, for people to attend if they don’t like being close-knit.”
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen was the only song specifically given to an act.
“Only one act was given a song to sing, only because we really liked the song, and we let the other four acts come up with their own song,” said Hooten. Zach and bax was asked to sing it.
“They assigned us a song, and they said put your personal band flavor to it, so we went with it,” said Polasek. “We have prepared the same way since we started the band, and that's just start playing it individually on our instruments the way we know, then blend and give it the ‘bluegrass’ flavor we want onto it.”
Each part of Kerr Christmas had its own difficulties and rewards. For Zach and bax, it was hard to find practice time. “It was difficult because all of the members of the band are so diverse in school, that it was hard to find time to spend dedicating ourselves to the song,” said Polasek. “We were blessed by God for providing some time to practice, but the best part, other than performing, was just the quality time I got to spend with my band mates at practice. They are all incredible guys with incredible talents, and they all love God..”
The carolers had to memorize all the names of the reindeer. “The most difficult part for me was spending 20 minutes trying to memorize the reindeers’ names and the order they were in the song. I practiced for hours, sometimes starting at 5 am and not ending until 9 pm,” said Ray.
The co-directors had the task of finishing up last-minute details. “The most difficult part,” said Hooten, “was trying to get the final details of Kerr Christmas put together right after the Thanksgiving break. We were really behind on a few things when the week of Kerr Christmas came around. The most enjoyable part was watching the final show after many hours of preparation! It was a great experience, and I enjoyed working with Katie Denny and all the emcees getting the skits ready for the show. I would also like to thank Michael Burns and the Kerr Christmas crew for helping us decorate and tear down!”