Choirs seem to rule the holiday season. Have you noticed, for example, how much choral music permeates the Home Alone soundtrack? If not, check it out on ABC Family this month (yes, it’s running ALL month!). Or, what about the myriad of commercials this holiday (shopping) season which seem to caricature caroling? Indeed, this time of year, caroling and choral music seem to abound in shopping malls, in nursing homes, in church programming, in the various productions and reruns of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (pun intended), and of course, in school music departments across our city and country. So to borrow a modern colloquialism – what’s up with that?
Well, I believe I have an answer. Generally speaking, regardless of one’s faith tradition, the holiday season is a “warm and fuzzy” time. We look forward to enjoying precious moments with loved ones and friends, when college students return home or when distant family members make long journeys to reunite once again, when we pause to think of those less fortunate and to take action, and perhaps most importantly, when we strive for the potential we hold to truly be a better society and people. And this is embodied, I believe, in our love of choral music at the holidays.
You see, choral music is as authentic and sincere as an art form can get. For the most part, there are no fancy light displays, there are no dance numbers, and there are no flashy instruments to mediate direct human-heart-to-human-heart contact. The interpretation of a work of art—a piece of choral music—is delivered straight from the mouth of child. In essence, choral musicians, young and old, strive to stand together as one ensemble, where the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts, for the direct purpose of sending goodwill and beauty out into the world, where only the instrument of the human voice seems appropriate – with no amplification, with no auto-tune, and with no highly-stylized production. Indeed, few moments can pierce the heart as much as 3rd and 4th graders singing “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” simply and skillfully.
And it is this type of opportunity that I invite the Randolph community to experience. On Tuesday, December 16h at 6:30 p.m. in the Thurber Arts Center Auditorium, the Randolph School choral program will present our annual and traditional Candlelight Concert – featuring over 200 singers in grades 3-12 who will present holiday choral music, and join in a combined festival choir at the conclusion of the program.
The Candlelight Concert remains one of the signature events of our school year, where students in all three divisions will make a significant musical statement of what it is to be OneRandolph.
Sincerity seems in short supply these days. Perhaps even for our students, the pressure to be accepted can often be an overwhelming influence – even counter to who they really might wish to be. And, quite frankly, sincerity isn’t always perceived as hip or “chill.” It’s why, I think, choirs can sometimes get a bad rap every now and again, perhaps garnering the “nerdy” label or whatever (I guess because I’m a sucker for the franchise, I’m thinking here of the funny choir scene that begins Home Alone 2: Lost in New York – yes, also on ABC Family all month!). But, regarding “nerdy” – we will be anything but, on Tuesday, because choirs rule the holiday season. Come for the sincere, authentic, and genuine warm fuzzies – they will NOT be in short supply.