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Immersed in the Sounds of the Season

'Tis the season for carols, cocoa, and all things Christmas, including wintry weather and the sounds of holiday music filling the halls and theaters at Gibbons. There even is a visit scheduled from Santa!

Two separate music events highlight the creative talents of our students, which they willingly share with the Gibbons school community. The student singers and musicians perform music, ranging from traditional Christmas favorites to spiritual selections that reflect the solemnity of the season – and everything in between. Our media students also are on hand to capture visitors’ photos with Santa.

At 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 7, the choral department presented its annual Christmas Chorus Concert, featuring performances by the Mixed, Women's and Men's Choral ensembles. The singers were joined on stage by a dance student as well as by local Catholic middle schoolers. The 90-minute free concert took place in the MainStage Theater, which was turned into a winter wonderland for the performance.

“This annual concert,” said Choral Director Martha Zaldivar, “shines a spotlight on the exceptional student singers we have who are willing not only to be involved with chorus, but also in everything else our school has to offer, including mentoring young singers.”

Indeed, mentoring is at the heart of Gibbons’ continued partnership with area Catholic middle schools, whose students were invited to a free chorus clinic, led by Gibbons students, earlier in the day. There, the younger singers rehearsed all the pieces they were to sing at the evening concert. Among them, said Zaldivar, was “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” performed solely by middle school students. Additionally, some middle schoolers performed “White Winter Hymnal” with Gibbons’ Mixed Ensemble; and the younger students joined with the Gibbons students to sing “Carol of the Bells” in the finale, she said.

On Friday, December 14, starting at 2 p.m. the music department will hold the annual Br. Michel Bettigole Christmas Music Festival, which was rescheduled from its original December 9 date due to snow.

The festival, now in its 12th year, will feature over 200 music students in performances - from small groups to a full string orchestra and a 30-piece jazz band -  by the Percussion, Wind, Strings, and Guitar ensembles. They will perform such music genres as jazz, rock, classical, and of course, holiday favorites, including “Wizards in Winter,” “Sleigh Ride,” and “Carol of the Bells.”  There is also a piece arranged by a Gibbons students. The festival will take place in the main lobby and the school’s two theaters.

Also, on Friday afternoon, visitors will be given the opportunity to take a photo with Santa. That is thanks to the Gibbons Media, which is setting up a photo station, to be manned by student photographers, in the school’s Main Lobby.

“The hope,” Director of Bands Mark Cashin said of the goal of the festival, “is that our audiences see the joy of our students’ performing to the best of their abilities and showing our Gibbons’ community all that they have learned and worked hard to prepare throughout the semester.”

Director of Percussion Hal Sargent agreed and added: “That the music inspires audience members to feel the spirit of the season and that they take a piece of the festival with them in their hearts.”


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