I got to unwrap another early Christmas present Dec. 13 when the Crestview High School chorus presented its annual Winter Concert. It was such sheer delight that it erased any guilt I was feeling not being home writing my already late Christmas cards.
Setting the perfect mood, the 130 singers opened the concert by ringing the Pearl Tyner Auditorium and, illuminated only by the candles each held, trolled the lovely “Carol of the Bells.”
Choral music director Kevin Lusk often freshens each concert with wonderful little treats, but likewise is sure to include favorites we eagerly anticipate each year. This year the show began with the Chanticleer and Destiny show choirs alternating numbers. Moving that many kids swiftly on and off stage might seem awkward, but “we practiced it a lot,” Lusk said.
It worked. Transitions were virtually seamless. Both choirs had the opportunity to strut their stuff, with Chanticleer’s great rendition of the old Judy Garland standard, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” a standout.
Destiny’s “Yes, Virginia” was radiant, and apropos. With lines like, “Even though you may not see him in his sleigh on Christmas Eve/ Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus; It’s true if you believe,” it provided welcome reassurance following the fracas that erupted over a certain out-of-town Grinch who inserted himself in the community’s Christmas parade.
Professional violinists Esther Tiedemann and Natalie Cox played for several of the men’s and women’s choirs pieces. The guys’ rendition of “A La Nañita Nana” was especially lovely, enhanced by the violin accompaniment. Whipping out dark shades, the men then got a little jiggy with “An Elvis Christmas” medley.
Two of the women’s pieces — “Ding Dong Merrily on high” and “Sir Edward Elgar’s “The Snow” — were moving, joyful and beautifully sung selections. Alas, the latter, on which the violinists again accompanied, was marred by a thoughtless cretin in audience who thought it the perfect opportunity to take a large, noisy slurp on his smuggled Big Gulp, rattling the ice in the process.
Like those who brought peevish toddlers, one really must wonder why, if someone is unwilling to act civilized for an hour and 45 minutes, they insist on ruining an otherwise beautiful evening for the rest of us, as well as insulting the stellar, hard-working vocalists who practiced so hard to share their talent with us?
The evening otherwise got simply better and better, with Chorale’s “Pat-a-Pan” and “Gabriel’s Message” (also punctuated by drink slurps and ice rattling, the perpetrator of which also engrossed in texting through some of the best songs of the night) until at last the entire massed chorus, joined by a dozen or more alumni who dutifully went straight to their old places, gave us a stirring rendition of the “Hallelujah Chorus” from “The Messiah.”
What a stunning finale, and a gorgeous way to propel us on to Christmas. Next up: Schola Cantorum’s concert Monday evening, 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church. See you there. Leave the drink and the cell outside.
VIDEO: See "Related Media" at top left of this article.
Contact News Bulletin Arts & Entertainment Editor Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.