Deck The Halls With Sounds of Choir

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Pacific’s choirs prepare their annual concert

Music is a central part of the holidays, as it encompasses all cultures and beliefs. This is no exception at Pacific University; our choral program will be presenting the Holiday Concert on December 3, at 7:30 pm in McCready Hall. The Index sat down with the Director of Choral Activities and Director of Chamber Singers, Scott Tuomi, to learn more about the event. 

   The holiday concert has taken many forms in past years. Tuomi explained that the holiday concert was originally a Christmas carol church service at the UCC church. Over the years, the holiday concert evolved to not be affiliated with any church and has become a formal concert on campus. Word spread about our holiday concert and Forest Grove community members started attending the concert each year.

   “When the pandemic hit, we put together an online concert; both choirs sang a number of songs and for the first time, individuals and small ensembles performed songs of their choosing,” recalled Tuomi. “Reflecting on the 2020 holiday concert format and the great fun and success we had with both choir performances and individual or small group performances, we decided to keep this format in 2021, and also for this year’s concert.” 

   This year’s holiday concert will feature a number of ensembles and both choirs. The two choirs are the Chamber Singers, directed by Tuomi, and the Concert Choir, directed by Sam Barbra. A tenor-bass ensemble will perform, along with Pacific’s two acapella groups, Vera Voche and Splendid Audacity. Solos and small ensemble acts will be sprinkled throughout the production as well. One of the performances will be particularly meaningful; the Chamber Singers will be singing an arrangement of Carol of the Bells in Ukrainian. Tuomi shared, “we want to honor the two Ukrainian students on campus and make them feel welcome. These two students have been coming in and coaching the chamber singers on how to sing in Ukrainian.” 

   The Chamber Singers is a choir that requires an audition to get in, while the Concert Choir does not require an audition. This year’s Chamber Singers are high caliber; Tuomi affirmed, “The Chamber Singers this year are quite remarkable. Of all the years I have been here, this is the best choir I have ever had.”

   At the holiday choir concert, the Chamber Singers will perform two of the hardest pieces Tuomi has ever chosen to put in a program. “I haven’t had a choir that has been able to sing songs this difficult before… and my students have risen to the challenge,” explained Tuomi. For the Chamber Singers, this concert will showcase their work on the highest level of blend, balance, and awareness of dynamics, chords, and how their voice fits in with the other singers. The Chamber Singers have the great honor of being featured at the Oregon Music Educators Conference in January of 2023, and of course will preform in the holiday concert.

   Saturday, December 3 at 7:30 pm. Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center. Free to students, faculty, and staff. — Annette Leschensky


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