Choir concert channels holiday spirit

Have you ever wondered why you were hearing Christmas music coming from Room KO 150 in the middle of September? That was because the Indiana University Kokomo Cougar Choir was practicing their setlist of songs for their annual “Sounds of the Season” concert, which was held on Dec. 9 and 11 in Havens Auditorium. 

Since the start of the semester, the choir has been working to perfect their tunes to give the community a beautiful and enjoyable concert filled with classic holiday favorites and pieces that capture the beauty of wintertime.  

“This semester, I feel like things are almost back to normal after the pandemic,” said Wendy Grice, director of the Cougar Choir. “We have had many new singers, and this group reads music really well. Everyone also had a good time. For example, the officers planned a key trip to see the Adams Family at Beef and Boards.” 

Grice always looks through the choir’s files for interesting pieces that both the choir and the audience will enjoy for each concert. She sometimes picks a piece the choir used in years past in addition to listening to many new choral pieces.  

Each year, Grice divides the concert into two parts. For the first half of this year’s show, the choir performed a unique blend of traditional carols including “O Tannenbaum,” (German for Oh Christmas Tree) “The Wexford Carol,” and “Il Est Ne,” (French for He is Born, the Divine Christ Child) in addition to two contemporary Christmas and winter pieces by British composer John Rutter: “Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind,” which was based on Shakespearean text, and “Shepherd’s Pipe Carol,” one of Grice’s favorites. 

The second half of the concert consisted of music from classic holiday cartoons. Fans adored the choir’s take on “Holly Jolly Christmas” from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as the choir played the melody on kazoos in the middle of the piece. Children enjoyed hearing “Let it Go” from Disney’s beloved animated film Frozen, “Hot Chocolate” from The Polar Express, and “Don’t Be a Jerk, It’s Christmas” from SpongeBob SquarePants. The concert wrapped up with “Night of Silence,” a contemporary carol featuring “Silent Night.” 

Senior Molly Lewis playing the kazoo as the choir sings “Don’t be a Jerk! It’s Christmas.” (Olivia Newcom)

As a bonus holiday treat, the choir and the audience had the opportunity to witness Senior Logan Brittain conduct the ensemble as they sang “Christmastime is Here” from A Charlie Brown Christmas. 

The concert in Havens was not the only performance that the choir gave this season. They also sang for IU Kokomo staff in their offices as carolers on Dec.1 and at Christ Lutheran Church in Kokomo on Dec. 4 as a part of the church’s concert series.  

As Buddy the Elf would put it, the Cougar Choir certainly “spread Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear” this year. 

The Cougar Choir can be a great opportunity for students here on campus. They can enroll in it as a class, or just sing for fun this upcoming spring semester. Rehearsals are from 4:00 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday in Havens Auditorium.  

According to Grice, there are many great pieces picked out for the spring, and the theme for the second half of the concert is “Best of the Fifties.” If you are interested, contact Grice ([email protected]) for more information.