Eastern’s Winter Music Festival

Eastern University held its annual Winter Music Festival Friday, Dec. 1 and Saturday, Dec. 2. On Friday, performances were given by Eastern Winds, Jazz Band, and Angels of Harmony. The second set of performances on Saturday included pieces by St. Davids Orchestra Society, Turning Point, and the University Choir. The festival is the culmination of months of hard work and long practices. Students and faculty pour their time and energy into mastering pieces and delivering them to audiences in a way that is both admirable and memorable. Morgan Thomas (‘20), a student in the music department who performed with Turning Point, shared, “The performance is pretty much all or most of the ensembles within the music department putting forth their best work, so students and the community get to see the end result of all of the [music department’s] hard work.” The rehearsal process, while it requires dedication and sacrifice and it can be draining, is well worth the countless hours and immense energy needed.

Another student, Eliza Brown (‘18), shares her own thoughts on rehearsals. “Rehearsals are always productive, and always exhausting, and on the good weeks, they’re a time of beautiful music, and togetherness with other lovers of music. Music takes extreme focus and discipline, and while the final performance is always a joy-filled time, the months leading up to that are often extremely stressful, physically painful, and mentally exhausting. However, every step in the process that brings the groups closer to that final performance is so rewarding; I think that’s why we all do it. From the first time you personally read through a piece without getting lost, to the first time the group collectively ends together after a nearly perfect run-through, the seemingly small progressions are how music is born, and it is a truly beautiful, rewarding process.”

Rehearsals, while exhausting, are vital to the creation of memorable performances. The dedication put into rehearsals was apparent in the results of this year’s Winter Music Festival. Jasmine Morrison (‘18), a member of Angels of Harmony, the gospel choir, also spoke of the experience of rehearsals and said in “the rehearsal… [the] Angels of Harmony sing the songs and practice until we get it right. It’s a great experience because we’re singing for the Lord and the Spirit is moving around us.” She also highlighted how the Angels of Harmony approached the Winter Music Festival prepared to sing their hearts out.

The performances themselves were not just holiday songs, but also other choral music. Morgan Thomas (‘20), part of the Turning Point ensemble, said “we have everything from Beethoven to Star Trek so there’s a little something for everyone.” Another performer, Jesse Lall (‘17), when asked about the upcoming performances the week before the Winter Musical Festival, said, “The performances for this upcoming weekend is usually a collaboration of works to prepare for the most important season, which for those who practice Christianity is advent, the birth of Christ. There are not only just tunes for the holidays but other standard works as well by Eastern’s performance arts division. This performance is not only to draw in the audience members but also to showcase works each ensemble has been preparing for all semester long. Rehearsals are always time-consuming and hard work, but yet develop us as musicians. We spend hours a week not only in class but in rehearsals and practicing on our own. When we meet it is a time we gather together and develop the music as a group.”

The hard work put in by the music department yielded beautiful results in this year’s Winter Music Festival. The performances showcased the dedication and talent within the department while also entertaining the audience and reveling in the advent celebrations.

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