December 1, 2020

Annual Christmas Festival goes virtual

Everyone would like to end the semester on a high note. However, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has kept pretty much anything from ending in a desirable way.

Christmas Fest is usually the Capital University music department’s way of doing this, which they will also do this year, albeit, with a couple of changes.

The Christmas Fest this year will be virtual, due to decisions made by the CDC and Capital University’s COVID-19 task force. Although, it will not be taking place over Zoom. 

Zoom, in particular, has shown it can have its fair share of reliability issues.

This year’s Christmas Fest will consist of never before seen recordings from the previous five Christmas Fest shows. Additionally, it will feature bits and pieces from all five of the choral ensembles and various instrumental pieces as well.

The five ensembles that are included in the show are chapel choir, Capital bands, the Capital big bands, rock ensemble, and the Capital orchestra.

The performers are recording videos of themselves that will be submitted and woven together to create a product that will closely resemble a normal Christmas Fest. The major twist this year is that attendees will be viewing from their homes as opposed to Mees Hall. 

In terms of logistics, Lynda Hasseler, director of choral activities and music professor at Capital University, said “there will be no admission charge, … and it will be offered Saturday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, Dec. 6 at 3:30 pm.” 

Screenshot of virtual meeting between Hasseler and reporter Josh Conturo.

Previous attendees should be familiar with the general layout of the performance and the order in which different performances take place, as that will undergo little change. 

“This year’s theme is ‘Together We’,” Hasseler said, “there are so many things that we are doing together, we hope together, we grow together, we learn together.” 

Something that is unique to the Christmas Fest is that it is not broken up into smaller individual performances. Instead, it is one complete performance that is not intruded by audience applause or outside noise.

“It is intended to be a transformative experience and so there’s a story from beginning to end in order to engage the listener,” Hasseler said. “It’s not very interesting to perform a song, clap, perform a song, clap, which is more like entertainment and the goal of this experience is to be deeper than that.”

On top of Christmas Fest, there is also a fall concert as well that will work much in the same way that Christmas fest will. Information can be found on the Conservatory of Music website and it will include an entire show on a virtual platform.

Something that this year’s Christmas Fest has on previous years is that this year’s digital performance will be sewn together from a bin of cherry-picked clips from over the course of several years.

Essentially, the main goal of choosing which clips from both the present and the past is to cater to what the audience wants and what repertoire the conductors choose. 

Hasseler said, “I am trying to choose pieces that are varied in terms of tempo and the style of music and language and the text.”

In addition, some other criteria that help determine which will be included in the Christmas Fest compilation are what will the audience remember after it is over and which ones result in a smooth program. 

  • Josh Conturo is a reporter for the Chimes and a sophomore studying emerging media with an emphasis on journalism, and loves all things related to cars, coffee, and comedy.

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