A festive Laker celebration


Courtesy of Chad Boorsma, Photo Editor of the OHS Pipe Organ Database at: http://database.organsociety.org/

Allison Rafferty, Staff Reporter

The spirit of the holiday season will be in full swing at Grand Valley State University when Lakers return to campus from Thanksgiving Break. On Monday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. the GVSU University Arts Chorale will be giving a holiday themed a capella performance. Set to take place in the festive surroundings of Fountain Street Church, the “Beloved Songs of the Season” event is sure to put anyone in the Christmas spirit. 

Yuletide sections from British composers David Willcocks and John Rutter will accompany the a capella performances of the Arts Chorale. There will be an opening number performed by a professional brass ensemble, two numbers will be performed by GVSU Cantate, one performance will be brought to life by the Jenison Elementary Honors Choir and three songs will be performed by the GVSU University Arts Chorale. 

GVSU Associate Professor and Director of Orchestras Henry Duitman will be conducting at the event and has done so for about every other year since he started working at the university twelve years ago. He hopes to continue to help put on the event and conduct at it in the future. 

Duitman said that along with the aforementioned musical numbers, the main work will be Gloria by composer John Rutter. For this piece, the University Arts Chorale will be joined by choirs from both Hudsonville High School and West Ottawa High School. 

Fountain Street Church makes for the best choice of venue for the “Beloved Songs of the Season” performance because of its large size, excellent acoustics and beauty. Duitman said that those at the church have always made wonderful hosts for this annual event. 

Everyone involved in putting on this event, from Duitman, to the University Arts Chorale, to the brass ensemble, to the choirs, have been preparing for quite some time. As Duitman explained, “Selection of the music and invitations to guest choirs began in the spring and preparations have continued since.”

Duitman hopes that there will be more than a thousand people in the audience, and hopes that all attendees will leave the performance with feelings of “inspiration, joy, hope and courage for the future.” 

It is important for GVSU to put on events like “Beloved Songs of the Season” because not only is it a great opportunity for all GVSU students involved in the production, but “by way of this gift, GVSU (also) thanks the community for their support and interest in Grand Valley State University,” Duitman said.

The songs that will be performed are sure to encompass all of the emotions surrounding the Christmas holiday. From the nostalgia of Christmas past, to the joy of the present, to the hope of the future, the essence of Christmas will be present in every aspect of the performance. Those in attendance will be encouraged to participate in the holiday fun as the program will end with a carol sing-along where they will be invited by brass ensemble and choir members to join in.