OBU’s Music Preparatory Department Choirs will present a Christmas concert Sunday, December 6, at 3 p.m. in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium. Featured groups performing in the program include the Discovery Singers, Shawnee Honor Choir and Concert Choir. The performance marks the 15th annual combined Christmas concert. The concert is free and open to the public.
The youngest choir, Discovery Singers, is under the direction of Haylee Dowler. They will open the program with “Christmas Festival” by Lois Myers Emig and will also perform “Do You Hear What I Hear?” by Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne, arranged by Harry Simeone.
In its thirty-third year, Shawnee Honor Choir, an auditioned group of third through eighth graders conducted by OBU Music Preparatory Department Director Conchita Hansford, will continue the program with “Shout for Joy!" by Sally K. Albrecht and Jay Althouse. They will then perform “Ding Dong! Merrily On High,” arranged by Howard Cable and Henry Leck. Other selections include “How Far Is It To Bethlehem” by former OBU professor Michael Cox; “Away in a Manger” by James Murray; “Glory to God!” by Lloyd Larson; “Sing A Glad Noel!” arranged by Audrey Snyder; and “Sing We Now of Christmas,” a traditional French carol arranged by Mark Patterson.
Orff instrumentalists will perform a rondo by Carl Orff. Student performers include Keilani Anderson, Andi Burgess, Allison Holter, and Clara Timmons on soprano glockenspiels; Elizabeth Mashek and Favor Mbote on alto glockenspiels; Tyler Day, Kaitlyn Duran, and Corinna Ropp on soprano xylophones; Alethea Anderson, DeAnn Harper, and Littie White on alto xylophones; Emily Day on soprano metallophone; Estelle Lilite on alto metallophone; Sydnie Barry on bass xylophone; Trenton Cope-Ueltzen on bass metallophone; Brent White on bass bars; Mary Lytle on the cymbal; and Kelby Vass on the bass drum.
The Shawnee Honor Choir will conclude their portion of the concert with an audience sing-a-long of Christmas songs accompanied by hand chimes. Hand chime performers include DeNiesha Barkus, Nora Beam, Grace Belyeu, Camille Blakemore, Abigail Canning, Chiara Carpenter, Avery Ford, Jenevieve Gay, Camryn Green, Skylee Henson, Keylee Landes, Garrett McDonald, Karsyn McDonald, Evie Minor, Hyrum Miner, Autumn Morris, Larron Morris, Abbie Paningsoro, Emilee Prater, Billie Richardson, Caden Romine, Olivia Schwab, MaKenna Turner, Alexis Walker, Olivia White, Aubree Wilkins and Jordan Winter.
The Concert Choir, comprised of high school students, is under the direction directed by Dr. Kathy Scherler, assistant professor of music education. They will open with an instrumental prelude arranged by Scherler. They will then perform “Medieval Gloria” by Vijay Singh; “Sing We Now of Christmas” by Brant Adams; “Petit Enfant” by Linda Miller Shaw; “Pat-A-Pan” by Clare Grundman; “Sussex Carol” by Paul Stuart; and “Dona Nobis Pacem,” a traditional Latin hymn that means “grant us peace.” The Discovery Singers will then join the Concert Choir and perform “Infant Holy,” arranged by Mary Goetze.
“Night of Silence,” Daniel Kantor’s partner song with “Silent Night,” will be performed by the combined choirs. Soloists for “Night of Silence” include Brent White, Corinna Ropp, and Kaitlyn Duran. The joint choirs will close the program with a traditional round, “Merry Christmas to You All.”
The Shawnee Honor Choir will also perform during OBU’s Hanging of the Green Saturday, Dec. 5, also in Potter Auditorium. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. This annual program includes Christmas selections from many of OBU’s musical ensembles. Performing is a great honor for the Shawnee Honor Choir.
For the 26th consecutive year, Shawnee Honor Choir will also present its Christmas program in area schools. On Tuesday, Dec. 1, the choir will perform at Family of Faith, Sequoyah Elementary and Grove School. On Friday, Dec. 4, the choir will perform at Pleasant Grove, McLoud Elementary, North Rock Creek, and the assisted living center Brookdale.
Auditions are open for students to join the choirs in January. For more information about OBU's Music Preparatory Department, visit the Prep Department webpage, call (405) 585-4329 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Music Preparatory Department at OBU began in 1985 and offers many musical opportunities to students from birth through adult for Shawnee and surrounding areas. In addition to the choral experiences offered through the choirs, the preparatory department offers private piano, voice, guitar, string, wind and percussion instrument instruction, as well as Keyboard Readiness, Keyboard Concepts, String Ensemble, Art classes and Kindermusik classes for babies and preschoolers. The department is the largest of its kind in the state with more than 400 students currently enrolled, has served as a model for several other universities in developing similar programs. Conchita Hansford, OBU music faculty member since 1990, has served as director of the preparatory department since 1998.