A Baylor Christmas brings joy to campus with annual holiday concert

Liesje Powers | Multimedia editor

By Cassidy Pate | Reporter

All you need is your Christmas spirit, holiday cheer and your singing voice when you attend this year’s production of A Baylor Christmas.

The Baylor University men’s choir, women’s choir, concert choir, a cappella choir and Bella Voce are collaborating with the Baylor Symphony Orchestra in this year’s production of A Baylor Christmas entitled “What Sweeter Music…Carols From Around the World.”

There are three performances. The first concert will be at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, the second will at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and the final show will be at 3 p.m. on Sunday in Jones Concert Hall.

Tickets for this event are sold out, but it will be broadcasted in late December on local television stations such as KWTX and CW12.

Last year, KWTX said the brilliant voices of the combined choirs and the talented musicians have heralded the arrival of Christmas at Baylor for nearly 50 years.

Dr. Brian Schmidt, associate professor of choral music and one of five conductors of A Baylor Christmas said there will be moments when the choirs sing together and separately. There will also be time for the audience to sing Christmas carols in between the choirs’ transitions on and off stage.

“This year we have this loose theme of carols from around the world so there will definitely be some familiar things,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt said creating a comfortable setting for the audience was an important factor in selecting the music for the event.

“I think that’s one thing. We want people to feel comfortable and hear tunes that they’re familiar with and celebrate the season with us,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt said the beginning selection could be described as “film score-esque,” as it is a medieval Christmas carol that has been around for hundreds of years. He described it as the new and the old coming together.

The ending performance, “A World of Joy” by George Frideric Handel, is based off the classic “Joy to the World” by Isaac Watts. It incorporates South African style with Latin and mariachi music that will have the choirs singing in Spanish.

Schmidt said a modern, pop rock sound would conclude the concert as the choirs let loose and the orchestra plays like crazy.

“This one piece takes you through this whole different world of how ‘Joy to the World’ is heard around the world,” Schmidt said.

Because the majority of the chosen music contains full orchestral arrangements, Schmidt said the orchestra provides a beautiful collaborative color with the choirs.

“I think people who have never been to a classical music concert would really enjoy this, and I think people who love classical music will appreciate it for its depth and range of types of music,” Schmidt said.

Only three to four weeks of preparation have gone into A Baylor Christmas, but Schmidt is confident in the work of the students heading into the upcoming performances.

“We love doing this,” Schmidt said. “I think everyone gets so excited about sharing this with the Baylor community and also the community of Waco, so the spirit of just sharing all this music is so abundant in all of the students and the faculty that I think that’s what’s inspiring to me.”

Conroe sophomore Matthew Newhouse is a first year member of the a cappella choir and a feature soloist for A Baylor Christmas. He said to come with an open heart and be ready to have fun with some Christmas music.

“It’s every single great musician and singer in the whole School of Music and all of Baylor coming together and just putting on this ginormous thing for thousands of people,” Newhouse said. “It’s unlike anything else.”

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