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Choir unites for holiday themed performances

Singers at the Fall Concert. Photo submitted. (click for larger version)

November 21, 2012 - By Olivia Shumaker

Review Staff Writer

Lake Orion High School choirs will unite on Dec. 13 in the high school auditorium for their winter concert and silent auction, bringing together multiple levels of experience to perform holiday music as individual choirs and as a unified group.

The winter concert is one of four concerts the choirs performs throughout the year, the other three being the fall concert, the pre-Festival concert in February, and the spring concert in May.

Unlike the other concerts, the winter concert has the most definite theme of the four, the theme being holiday and winter music. The choirs will perform some music familiar to the audience, such as "Santa Baby" and "Deck the Halls", but will also perform some pieces foreign to the audience intended to stretch the choirs' musicianship.

One such piece is titled "Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind", which is by a contemporary composer using a Shakespeare text in which no single element repeats throughout.

In addition to the concert, a silent auction will run before the show from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium lobby, featuring items ideal for holiday gifts. There will also be vendors from a local holiday market present to sell their wares while the various choir groups wander throughout singing carols.

This is the biggest fundraiser for the choir program, and all funds go towards vocal scholarships and extra music pieces not covered in the choir budget.

"It's been a very interesting time for our parents to get together and know each other," said choir director Deborah Fristad. "It almost feels like a big party for the choir family."

The choir program consists of three choir classes: campus choir, chorale, and chamber choir.

Campus choir is the introductory course in choir, where all students start out getting used to choir at a high school level.

From there students can audition up into chorale, a higher level group.

After that students can audition into chamber choir, which is the most advanced of the choir groups, performing collegiate-level material.

"We know that we respect each other in regards to musicianship, so we all just want to work together to make music," said junior Olivia Demmers, a member of chamber choir and a two-year member of the Michigan all-state choir.

Each choir group, based on their different levels of experience, is expected to achieve different things. Chamber choir, for example, has been given several pieces this year that emphasize dissonance, an extremely difficult quality to maintain in complex music.

With the other groups Fristad strives to give them music that will challenge them without being over their heads. With all choirs Fristad hopes to give them an aesthetic experience multiple times throughout the year, where students reach an 'A-ha!' moment as musicians.

"My overriding goals for all the choirs is that they be introduced to music that is challenging, that makes them grow as a person, and that helps them grow technically as a musician," Fristad said.

Come support the choirs on Dec. 13 as they display their skill and holiday cheer. There is no price for admission, and the public is encouraged to attend the event.

"We know that a lot of people are looking for good entertainment during the month of December," Fristad said. "We want them to know that they can find it for free here at the high school and its extremely high quality."

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