Sounds of the Season

 

Together for Christmas - Presbyterian College Department of Music is preparing for most-popular performances.

 

 

 

 

Everywhere Presbyterian College Department of Music performers have gone this year they have experienced large and appreciative audiences.

It seems people, weary from the Covid pandemic, are starving for a connection to the arts, agreed Music Department Chair Dr. Karen Wisser Buckland.

Clinton audiences have been able to see a small sampling of music - a ribbon-cutting for Belk, the inauguration of a new president, a band concert that same week - but now comes, The Big Show.

“Together for Christmas” will be performed in the beautifully renovated Belk Auditorium Dec. 4, 7 p.m.; and Dec. 5, 3 p.m. Tickets: call the box office, 864-833-8470. or visit, www.presby.edu/music.

Nothing would make the music students happier, Buckland said, that looking out onto a full audience in the massive auditorium for both shows.

Last year, Covid made this concert a virtual performance.

Not only that but the day it had to be filmed in early November was one of the warmest days of the fall, Buckland recalled. It “wasn’t Christmas,” at all.

This year, they are hoping for Christmas weather - but with no ice on the roads and sidewalks.

“I am working with them this year - it is a joy,” said Buckland, whose department chair job sometimes restricts her direct time with performances.

Each group has been working on its own. Some have performed in churches, others at events like the inauguration. This week, they are coming together for rehearsals and tech.

And, not only the students. There will be faculty and community soloists and orchestra members performing Dec. 4 and 5, also.

For one group - Opera Shop - this will be an initial performance. They will present scenes from Menotti’s “Amahl & the Night Visitor.”

Without giving too much away from the program, those who attend will hear the orchestra accompany on two hymns, winds, chamber, bagpipes, percussion ensemble in the prelude and performing “Three Drummer Boys,” and vocal groups.

Buckland said the range is from hymns to pop to Appalachian and shape notes, to harmony and a Mexican folksong.

“We are excited,” she said. “We could not do this last year, it was streamed.”

For the department’s freshmen and sophomores, all they have known is performing in more intimate Edmunds Hall - the music performers’ home as Belk underwent renovations. “Now, we are back in Belk,” Buckland said. “And the sound - it is surprising how well it sounds. There is more handicapped seating - it has a warmer, nicer feel - and we will have Christmas trees.”

When the students got back from Thanksgiving, they had a walk-through. The band has performed on the Belk stage - now, everybody will be there. There are run-throughs, tech, and dress rehearsal - then a performance with a Star Curtain. 

For musical performers, it rarely gets more exciting than this.

At PC, students can major, minor or participate in music. There are scholarship opportunities for the participants as well as the major/minors. Music students coming in are eligible to compete for $10,000 in early decision money. These Spring Auditions are Jan. 22 and 29, 2022.

Students wanting to audition can come to campus, or there is an on-line platform. Freshmen and transfers can earn scholarships. For the students majoring in something else but participating in music, Buckland said, “It’s wonderful money and it helps the programs.”

Buckland is envisioning a much more active music department, as Covid subsides. Still, they don’t want to offer so much that audiences are conflicted about what to attend. Music juniors and seniors will offer recitals, and there will be more concerts in the spring. “Almost every Friday there is a students seminar for the recital attendance class,” Buckland said. 

She wants to bring in guest performers, but some are still reluctant to travel. A piano camp/competition and a music camp are programs still in the development stages.

 

Performing in “Together for Christmas” are: Bagpipers, PC Percussion Ensemble, PC Choir, Bella Voce, Cantare, PC Opera Workshop, PC Wind Ensemble, PC Chamber Orchestra, Guitar, Piano, and Coaches; info: www.presby.edu/music 

 

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