“’Tis the season to be jolly!” The holiday season is finally upon us and Elizabethtown College is getting into the spirit with a number of holiday concert performances in the next few weeks. Specifically, the Susquehanna Chorale will visit the College Dec. 16 at 8 p.m. in Leffler Chapel for a special Christmas performance. They will play selections from their soon-to-be-released CD, as well as a newly commissioned song by Richard Roberson, dean of Messiah College’s School of the Arts. The Susquehanna Chorale celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
The Susquehanna Children’s Chorale will be joining the adults for four songs. The children’s chorale consists of 60 members. This year, the chorale will debut a fifth, nationally-distributed CD. The CD will be available for purchase the night of the concert or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Chorale consists of 35 performers, ranging in age from 22 to 65. Individuals audition every year for a chance to be a member of this great performing ensemble. Many of the singers have a background in music, whether they had performance experience or went to school to study music. They are well-versed in the material and their knowledge and skills are apparent when they perform.
Specialties of the night will include a song performed in Chinese, as well a song in Russian. The audience may never forget these special songs performed in other languages.
Jane Ebersole, a 29-year member of the Chorale, believes that this show is going to be a great segue to the holiday season. “The concert is a great way to get the Christmas season started,” Ebersole stated in a phone interview. There will be a number of carols performed, including “Still, Still, Still,” which is Ebersole’s favorite song to perform, as she claims, “it creates a vision of snow falling over the manger scene.” Also included in the setlist are “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen” and “Jingle Bells.” “Silent Night” will be the last song, and will be sung in conjunction with a candlelight processional.
This concert will help the audience to not only hear the music, but to envision what Christmas is all about. The Chorale wants the audience to really understand the beauty of the holiday through their music. “We don’t just sing the notes; we want our audience to understand what we are singing about,” Ebersole explained. The concert is meant to convey the magic of the holiday season through voice and song. “We work really hard to convey the message of our music. We want our audience to get a feeling of joy when we sing,” Ebersole added.
Cathy Deitz has been a member of the Susquehanna Chorale for five years. However, in a phone interview, Deitz stated that she has been a fan of the group “forever.” When asked how the Chorale has become so successful, Deitz said, “Our conductor Linda Tedford, who is the founder, selects music, conducts and directs completely with audience in mind.” Deitz believes that the chorale has become so popular because the audience leaves the performance feeling happy and ready for the holiday season. “[Tedford] is relentless in getting us to understand that we need to connect with [the] audience,” Deitz said. Their hard work will pay off at the concert when they see the smiles that they put on everyone’s faces.
Tedford believes in filling the concert experience with the warmth of the Christmas spirit. “You get caught up in things that cause pressure and stress, and this is a time to let Christmas really begin,” Tedford said.