Christmas spirit filled the air Dec. 2 as the California Lutheran University Choral Ensembles and University String Symphony combined forces to present the annual Christmas Festival Concerts in the Samuelson Chapel. The program included many well-known Christmas carols all performed by the choral ensembles, which was conducted by Wyant Morton.
The chapel was packed as families, students and faculty came out to take part in the longest running annual event at Cal Lutheran.
The concert started with Yoshika Masuda, the conductor of the Cal Lutheran orchestra, stepping to the stand and beginning the program.
The program’s theme was “Veni Emmanuel,” and it refers to the original Latin title of the great Advent carol “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”
This is Masuda’s first Christmas program at Cal Lutheran and he was pleased with how the first performance of the night went.
Masuda conducted “Silent Night” at the concert and he said it was his favorite piece.
“It’s a very beautiful arrangement first of all, very cheesy and I love cheese and its done very well,” Masuda said. “The feeling of being able to be in control in a sense of the orchestra and the choir. It’s a very satisfying feeling. They are getting better every time we play. They are starting to sound like one orchestra, rather than 20 different players.”
Masuda finished his set and this allowed Morton, conductor of the Cal Lutheran choral ensembles, to take the stage and lead a concert that put all in attendance in the holiday mood.
Freshman Julia Garcia, who is a part of the Cal Lutheran choir and Women’s Chorale had a main role in the concert as she led with her solo in Veni. Garcia is the only freshman in Women’s Chorale. Garcia said her favorite song in the program was Veni, not only because of her solo, but the fact that it was the theme of the concert.
“I think it went really well. The crowd was great and the songs were excellent as always. I just felt so much energy and Christmas spirit in the room” Garcia said.
Kelsey Coovert, who is a part of the Cal Lutheran choir and Regals Quartet, is a senior and is taking part in her final Christmas festival.
“I have done the Christmas concert all three years beforehand and it is going to be very sad to go,” Coovert said.
In her final festival, Coovert felt the concert went smoothly and that all the sets were done well.
The concert came to a close as the whole chapel stood together and sang “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and gave a round of applause to those who took part and helped make the concert happen.
“I would encourage anybody within the campus who plays a string instrument well, not even well. If you just play a string instrument and love playing a string instrument I strongly encourage you to join us. It’s something very exciting that we’ve got going here,” Masuda said.
If you are interested and would like to get ahold of the music department on campus, call the Music Department at (805) 493-3305 or visit www.callutheran.edu/music.