To kick-off the holiday season, the UTEP Choirs held their sixth-annual Holiday Revels concert at the Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall on Nov. 19 and 20. This year’s theme of “T’was the Night Before Christmas” featured a diverse selection of students and faculty from UTEP Department of Music.
The “Holiday Revels: T’was the Night Before Christmas” concerts featured over 120 UTEP students from the University Chorus, Concert Chorale, Chamber Singers, UTEP Ceremonial Brass, University Chorus Women, University Chorus Men and the Jazz Combo.
“Every year the choirs put on two evenings of Holiday concerts right before Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday season,” said Elisa Wilson, director of choral activities and the Holiday Revels concerts. “There’s always a variety of music—it really has a little bit of something for everybody.”
Prior to the main performance, the UTEP Department of Music provided special holiday refreshments while guests enjoyed music by “QuatrroVoci” quartet, made up of UTEP choir members who also performed in the concerts.
“My favorite part of the concert tends to be the pre-show. Not only do I get to sing alongside my quartet friends, but people can enjoy hot chocolate and peppermint sticks as well,” said David Herring, vocal performance senior and member of the UTEP Chorale, UTEP Chamber Group and QuatrroVoci.
The show began in the Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall with a performance of “Joy to the World” by UTEP Ceremonial Brass and moved into an interspersed evening of the rendition of 20 celebratory and holiday songs—along with recitals of stanzas from “T’was the Night Before Christmas” by UTEP singers.
“Dr. Wilson flowed it together through the fun poems and music to make it such a festive feeling. It truly is a show to remember and we’ve worked very hard,” said Elizabeth Gandarilla, music education sophomore and member the UTEP Chorale, UTEP Chamber Group and QuatrroVoci.
UTEP professor Elisa Fraser and Brian Downen conducted the evening with guest performances from UTEP faculty members James Logan and Cherry Duke. Judi Wilkinson accompanied the evening on the piano and James Logan on the clarinet to add to the celebratory evening.
“It’s not just the choral side but it’s the instrumental side coming together to present a beautiful two nights of holiday music,” said Brian Downen, assistant professor of voice and conductor in the “Holiday Revels” concerts.
UTEP singers and musicians musical skills shined as their music rang in the recital hall for an entire hour, filling the audience with warm holiday cheer as they swayed along to the tunes.
The evening ended with “Angels From the Realms of Glory” by UTEP Choirs and UTEP Ceremonial Brass to send the audience feeling enthusiastic for the upcoming holidays.
“We want the audience to feel geared up for the holidays and have a very joyful celebration,” Downen said.
The “UTEP Choirs Holiday Revels” concerts will return next year during the week of the Thanksgiving to ensure the community has a merry beginning to the holiday season.
Catherine Ramirez may be reached at [email protected]