Winter Music Festival delivers variety

Two nights. Ten ensembles. One amazing experience.

This year’s Winter Music Festival was held on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. in McInnis Auditorium. The eclectic arrangements composed of Eastern’s music groups offered each night’s audiences something to smile about.

The Winter Music Festival featured performances by the Flute Ensemble, Turning Point, the Eastern University Orchestra, the Chamber String Quartet, Miriam’s Children, Angels of Harmony, Eastern Winds, the String Ensemble, the Jazz Band and the University Choir.

“The goal of the Winter Music Festival is to showcase all performing ensembles,” Ron Matthews said, chair of the music department. “The tradition of the Winter Music Festival has been strengthened by the growth of the participating groups.”

Each night was intertwined with instrumental and vocal performances, and although the nights were not holiday themed, most ensembles incorporated one or two holiday songs into their program.

A newcomer to the Winter Music Festival, the Eastern University Orchestra held its own and dazzled the audience. Although this ensemble was just put together this semester, its performance did not indicate that any of the players were beginners. According to several audience members, the plucking of the strings by the stringed instruments was a wonderful addition in their performance of “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.”

Another favorite of audience members, as told not only by their applause but also their interest and laughing throughout the piece, was Miriam’s Children’s rendition of “I’m Gunna Wash that Man Right Outa my Hair.”

Angels of Harmony offered the audience a more interactive experience by asking for everyone to join in singing. According to Nneka Best, the director of Angels of Harmony, the Angels have taken on a new direction, with an attitude of worship and pointing to God. “This kind of worship brings us closer to God,” Best said.

The University Choir, accompanied by English professor Nancy Thomas on piano, sang a variety of different arrangements. “Some of the songs [we sang] are challenging,” said Rick Frost, conductor of the Eastern University Choir. “[They are songs] you don’t just learn overnight.” Once such song was “Hodie Christus Natus Est,” in which they sang in Latin.

According to Frost, the song “In Christ Alone” is a favorite of the choir. “You can see on their faces how much they enjoy singing this song,” he said.

Overall, the two-night musical extravaganza pleased audience members. “The program was put together really well,” junior Tim McClain said. “My favorite performance was the Jazz Band’s ‘Cabeza de queso’-it really stood out.”

“Of all the performances, the Jazz Band and the Orchestra were my favorites,” junior Jennifer Connelly said. “I thought the Orchestra was especially impressive.”

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