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Music ushers in holiday spirit

The Winter Music Festival, which ran Dec. 2-3, was designed to showcase the music department’s numerous programs and ensembles.

The evening of Dec. 2 began with the Eastern Wind Ensemble. Directed by Bryan Edgett, they performed a wide variety of music from a Bach cantata to “America The Beautiful,” conducted by senior Jennifer Ehling.

Their final piece, entitled “Occident and Orient,” displayed a beautiul contrast between the musical styles of the West and the rhythmic continuity of the Orient.

Next Eastern’s Jazz Ensemble took the stage, improvising on several pieces. There was an excellent balance between the composer’s intentions and the creativity of the musicians.

A stand-out performance was Kevin Padworski’s saxophone solo in the piece, “It’s All Right With Me.” One could tell simply by watching Padworski that he had soul, not to mention talent.

The highlight of the evening was Eastern’s String Quartet. sophmore Karen Goulding, junior Abbey Reed, sophmore Jesse Runnion, and senior Nate Lohse performed “String Quartet No. 2 in D.” The piece was captivating, played with flawless unity. The quartet’s performance was one of elegance that was easy to adore.

Friday night ended with Eastern’s Percussion Ensemble. Their first piece was a drumming performance produced entirely by sounds made from their mouths. This was certainly a step away from what the rest of the night showcased, and it brought an excellent conclusion.

Saturday’s show began beautifully. Behind the audience, from the lobby of McInnis, the Eastern University Choir sang a hauntingly beautiful rendition of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” The choir then marched up the aisle, taking their place onstage.

The vocal ensemble Turning Point began their set with a stunning rendition of “Gloria Patri.” The piece began with a chant and eventually encompassed the entire ensemble. Their version of “Angels We Have Heard On High” was an exciting and upbeat way to end the set.

The Eastern String Ensemble’s rendition of Vivaldi’s “Concerto for Two Violoncelli” was the climax of their performance, displaying the skill of the musicians, particularly cellists Nathan Lohse and sophmore Alethea Norton.

Without a doubt, the highlight of the evening was the first-ever performance of Eastern University’s Orchestra, directed by David Bryant. The orchestra filled the room with four stellar pieces. “Norwegian Dances” was wonderfully mastered, showcasing plucking cellos and crashing cymbals.

The winter music festival closed with something that everyone was able to participate in-gospel music.

There is no question that the Angels of Harmony “took it to the church” with their soul-powered praise.

All together, the Winter Music Festival was a glorious display of choral, orchestral, and instrumental brilliance.

The shows displayed wonderfully the vibrant talent of the musicians of Eastern University.

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