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The Eastern Echo Saturday, June 22, 2024 | Print Archive
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Annual EMU Holiday Candlelight Concert returns with themes of joy

The musical performances by students and staff looks to bring in the holiday season with joy.

Eastern Michigan University will be hosting its annual Holiday Candlelight Concert on Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 10 at 3 p.m. in Pease Auditorium.

This year’s concert is titled "Shout for Joy” and will prepare audiences for the holidays ahead. The Candlelight Concert is a collaboration of faculty members, students, and community members. Each performer makes it their goal to inspire and connect with audience members, giving them a unique experience.

Every year, the choir has three major on-campus performances: Homecoming, the Holiday Candlelight Concert, and a home tour concert. Although most of the events are free to the public, this ticketed event acts as a fundraiser to support students, tours, performance attire, and other program costs to make it less burdensome for students to be a part of musical activities. 

The theme of the concert, “Shout for Joy," was chosen to lift audiences' spirits, prompting them to reflect on the positive things in life they might not acknowledge during the chaos of the holiday season. The music was designed to bring both performers and the audience to a position of gratitude and appreciation for what already exists within their lives. 

This performance will have a combination of works from J.S. Bach, Benjamin Britten, and Sarah Quartel. The three works have been carefully chosen by Brandon Johnson, EMU’s choral artistic director, to maximize the musical textures that are felt by the attendees. 

“In this instance, they get to have a larger musical feast,” Johnson said. “There's more variety of music and more variety of instruments. We have a wonderful harp and beautiful strings, we are going to have a brass quintet playing with us and the piano. It is the most colorful concert – in the oral sense – that we do all year.”

With a variety of music and instruments used, it allows the performers’ pieces to bring new and fresh sensations throughout the concert.

“Sarah Quartel’s piece and Bach’s are forcing the musicians to do different things,” Johnson said. “Having this variety builds the musician’s confidence, helps them read better, [and] helps them access more control over their voice.”

Johnson hopes to interact with as many senses as possible with the audience through everchanging musical keys, positioning of the choirs, and lighting. 

The preparation for this concert started directly after EMU’s homecoming. The ensemble has worked diligently since early October and is prepared to share their hard work.

“The audience is the final step in our circle of artistry,” Johnson said. “The choir can rehearse, we can perfect and strive and thrive, but it never feels complete until we share it. I love the idea of sharing this with not only our students and parents, but with the broader Ypsi community.”

Tickets can be purchased online with a discount given to students and select faculty. They are $5 for students and $20 for adults. Each ticket contributes to the support of the EMU Choir Department. 

For more information on the EMU Choir’s upcoming concert performances, visit EMU's website.