By Grace Hooley | Echo
From the moment God breathed into man, we've each had a voice. What we choose to do with that voice is our decision. Taylor Chorale and Sounds have chosen to use their voices to bring praise this Christmas season through the platform of Sing Noel tomorrow night in Rediger Chapel at 7:30 p.m.
This free event is filled with singing, dancing and many more tiny surprises included. Good music can draw both a tear and a laugh in the same performance, and this is what Chorale and Sounds are attempting to produce.
"I always look forward to Sing Noel because it helps us transition into the Christmas season," said JoAnn Rediger, director of choral ensembles at Taylor. "We get to start working on the music in October, and when the performance finally comes, it's a celebration that we truly enjoy giving. We let it happen at Sing Noel with students and local children and lots of parents and faculty."
Student guests such as sophomore Steven Christophersen, who will be playing clarinet, and senior Clara Loisch, who will be playing flute, add to the excitement and energy of the performance. Dances in songs like the "Celtic French Carol" also bring an extra aspect to Sing Noel.
Twelve songs will be performed in total, and both Chorale and Sounds will sing "We Three Kings" together. Chorale is made up of a larger group of students, whereas Sounds is smaller and works faster on music and sings mostly a cappella.
"There is the Chorale sound, and there is the Sounds sound," said senior Ross DeLong, member of Sounds.
With lots of hard work since October, each performer has their own favorite and least favorite aspect of Sing Noel. Junior Micah Meleski, member and one of the officers in Chorale, enjoys the message, emotion and musicality of the music, but he also recognizes that this is a large time commitment. DeLong, on the other hand, finds that the hardest thing is the pressure that comes with trying to live up to such a long standing tradition.
Sing Noel has been a Taylor tradition for the past 20 years. Normally it's held right after the Christmas Banquet in the Hodson Dining Commons, where the students dress in formal attire and celebrate Christmas with friends and food. This year, the Christmas banquet was moved to the week after Sing Noel, but the performance will be just as much a tradition as it has been in the past. Junior Lindsay Couvion, member of Chorale and Sounds, understands how important this is to Taylor.
"There is a legacy," Couvion said. "The thing I love about Sing Noel is that you cannot be bored. Nobody can fall asleep in this choral performance, which is kind of the opposite of what some people think choir is. Really it is music from all over the world. We try to do a lot of different genres. Every year there are people speaking different languages, popping out of the woodwork it feels like sometimes. It's really lively, and that's definitely a hard part for us because we have to make it lively and keep up the energy. It's a really fun burden to bear. I just love Sing Noel so much."
Couvion believes this performance has music for everyone to enjoy. What many might not know is that this music begins in Toledo, Ohio, where Rediger thoughtfully chooses each song.
Rediger spends two days looking through the best music scores for university-level choirs. When she feels that she has found a piece that could work, she considers it for Sing Noel.
"I pray and meditate and hear the music in my head as I look through hundreds of scores, spread out on the floor," Rediger said. "I listen to recordings … and when a piece of music moves me, I know it will move our student singers and finally, it will move audiences. Knowing the music is good and the words are meaningful, we go to work in rehearsal, memorizing and shaping and honing and expressing until we've achieved a high standard of performance. That's when we get out of the way and the Spirit ministers to people. That's the goal and process and tradition we've developed over 20 years."
Over the years, as people have come and gone in Sounds and Chorale, the level of excellence hasn't changed according to Couvion. The Sounds and Chorale work hard to live into the tradition that Sing Noel has become, and everyone involved is excited to see what this year brings.
Voices are incredible mysteries. From intonation to accents, there is always something new to discover within a voice. Voices can also be used to build up or break down, and it might just be time for some building up. The final song in the performance, "All Is Well," portrays this very point.
"(In) our finishing song 'All Is Well,' I've stifled back some tears when we've sung it in rehearsal sometimes because it's just true that, after all of the crazy things that have been happening this year, that we can still at the end of the year sing that all is well and believe that wholeheartedly," DeLong said.