December 11, 2023
St. Scholastica Music Program Ushering in the holiday season with music
The College of St. Scholastica ushered in the holiday season with a series of musical events that brought the Christmas spirit to life. Many staff, faculty and student musicians have been instrumental in the success of these events, offering seasonal joy to the community throughout the month of December.
Richard Carrick, director of Choral Activities, shared that the seasonal concerts provide opportunities for faculty and staff to collaborate. “We work together all year to create these concert experiences,” he shared. “The sense of camaraderie between us makes the hard work enjoyable, and then seeing the joy on our students’ faces, and in their families’ responses, is the icing on the cake.”
O Holy Night
The St. Scholastica Music Program presented the 11th annual Christmas concert, O Holy Night, on Friday, Dec. 1, and Saturday, Dec. 2, at The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Duluth, MN. St. Scholastica choral, brass and string ensembles combined for an evening of unforgettable music, transporting audience members into the Christmas spirit. Over 100 student musicians — members of the CSS Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, Belle Voce, Brass Ensemble and String Orchestra — and many additional St. Scholastica and guest instrumentalists put their hearts and hard work into the performances.
This hard work paid off. Over 1,000 audience members were welcomed over the two nights, making it one of the largest turnouts in the event’s history. “Our students’ hard work and dedication is remarkable,” said Carrick. “They never cease to amaze me.”
A recording of the Friday evening performance can be found at The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary’s YouTube channel. Around 30 of those audience members included St. Scholastica choral alumni who joined to sing in the final piece, “Night of Silence” by Daniel Kantor. “This is one of my favorite events of the year,” Derek Bromme, director of Bands, further noted. “It feels more like a spiritual event than a concert. It is the perfect way to celebrate the season.”
The College also continued its partnership with CHUM, a local nonprofit human services agency, to raise donations at the event to further the nonprofit’s work in ending homelessness and food insecurity in the community.
Christmas Through the Looking Glass
The holiday spirit flowed into the following weekend with the CSS Concert Band, Steel Band, String Ensemble and Handbell Ensemble’s Christmas Through the Looking Glass program. On Saturday, Dec. 9, audience members gathered in the Mitchell Auditorium for an afternoon of festive cheer and joyful spirits.
“This program was created to give band students an opportunity to perform a holiday concert,” Bromme explained. “It was also the first holiday concert to feature handbells, making for a really joyful celebration.”
The program included contemporary and classic music, such as The Nightmare Before Christmas, Greensleeves, and Lauridsen’s “O Magnum Mysterium” and even an audience carol sing-along. This musical journey inspired laughter and nostalgia, along with moments of deep contemplation on the meaning of Christmas.
Holiday festivities continue into this week as members of the public are invited to join the St. Scholastica Music Program and Borealis Chamber Artists for the return of the beloved Messiah Sing-Along on Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 7:30 p.m. in the Mitchell Auditorium. This traditional Christmas event showcases Handel’s epic “Messiah”, making for an evening of fun, joyful music.
“It is a privilege to continue this long standing tradition of the Messiah Sing-Along, started more than 40 years ago by Shelly Gruskin,” Carrick said. The sing-along, which is free to the public, will feature Borealis Chamber Artists chorus, orchestra and soloists leading from the stage, and St. Scholastica choral ensembles helping to lead the audience. “I hope the community will connect with our students as we share in this holiday experience.”