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Conservatory Creates Christmas Cheer

Resident musicians welcomed the community to experience the “Hope of the World.”  |  Caleb Aguilera/THE CHIMES

 

The Conservatory of Music welcomed students to the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts this past weekend for their fifth annual Christmas Concert. The Biola Chorale, Women’s Chorus, Men’s Chorus, Vocal Jazz, Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, Symphonic Winds and King’s Men took the theatre by storm and presented the community with their festive music. They played classic Christmas hymns such as “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “O Holy Night” and “Gloria.”

Hope of the World

The director of choral studies at Biola and interim executive producer of the concert Shawna Stewart helped create the vision for the concert as well as coordinate the technical, musical and artistic aspects of the concert. She gave some insight into how they chose this year’s theme.

“Hope of the World was really, I think, born out of looking at the current state of affairs in our world, and trying to be relevant to our world,” Stewart said. “Bringing a title and bringing a message through media, through our narration and through our music that could really express hope that we all feel at Biola and want to express to our community.”

The concert featured narrations written by Torrey Honors Institute associate director Melissa Schubert and were presented by dean of Spiritual Development Todd Pickett. These narrations connected the songs to the theme of hope throughout the concert.

Projected visuals flooded the background of the stage. The visuals, designed by professor of art Barry Krammes, told the story Stewart and the Conservatory wanted to share with the community. Stewart strongly desires to make the Conservatory a relevant aspect of the student experience.

Communal Relevancy

“The Conservatory of Music has a real desire to be relevant to our campus, but, except in a few chapels, we don’t really get a chance to bring the campus into something that really expressed who we are and will hopefully mean something to the student body,” Stewart said.

What truly sets this year’s concert apart from previous years is the price. The Conservatory welcomed Biola students to attend the concert free of charge. Stewart expressed her desire to increase the incentive for students to attend by eliminating the ticket price.

“I can think of very few things that are worse than having empty seats in that concert and not giving them away to people who would want to come,” Stewart said.

Stewart wanted every seat filled, even if it meant losing revenue. She stressed that getting students to attend remained the most important thing.

 

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