Written by Ben Lane | Photo by Caroline Palmer
The Harding University Department of Music hosted three concerts between Dec. 2-6 in collaboration with several of Harding’s ensembles and First United Methodist Church.
The Holiday Spectacular concert (Dec. 2), concert choir Christmas concert (Dec. 4) and chorus and orchestra concert (Dec. 6) were the three concerts held.
Dr. Susan Shirel, director of choral activities, said the Holiday Spectacular concert was designed to feature a broad spectrum of the Music Department’s scope. The concert included five unique ensembles: the string quartet, brass quartet, jazz band, percussion ensemble and chamber singers.
“There’s something there for everybody’s pallet,” Shirel said.
Last Saturday, the Concert Choir Christmas concert was performed at First United Methodist Church by the concert choir and was accompanied by First United Methodist organist Ryan Russell.
“It’s a real opportunity for people from the community to come hear [concert choir] perform,” Shirel said. “It’s exciting to get to share what we do with not just people here on our campus, but with a broader context.”
Last year, the concert choir Christmas concert was canceled due to COVID-19, and subsequently, this is Shirel’s first year to direct the show.
“It has been so encouraging to see the Department of Music come back to life after the many limitations we dealt with last year,” Music Department chair Dr. Jay Walls said. “It seems like we hit the onramp at full speed with a super busy agenda this fall, but the students have performed with the utmost professionalism.”
Monday evening, the chorus and orchestra “Feast of Carols” concert took place in the Anthony Wright Administration Building. These concerts provide a means for students to experience and perform masterworks, which are well known pieces within culture. The larger performances, especially that of the concert choir Christmas concert, allow for this to take place. For example, the concert choir performed selections from Handel’s “Messiah,” which includes the “hallelujah” chorus.
The larger performances also help people to understand the significance of the Music Department’s shows, Shirel said, because the shows provide outlets for Christmas music in Searcy, which enriches the community.
Junior music education major Matthew Hook said he feels like he needs these experiences to prepare him for the workforce.
“When I graduate, I’m going to want to go to someplace and have some experience with what the different kinds of ensembles are,” Hook said.