Holidays at Hendricks brings holiday cheer to SU campus

This annual event of music and singing kicked off the holiday season this weekend.

Around 6:30 p.m. last evening, crowds of people stood before the steps of Hendricks Chapel in 34 degree weather to see the performances of a number of vocal and musical groups, including the Hendricks Chapel Choir, Syracuse University Singers and the Syracuse University Brass Ensemble. The production was part of the annual Holidays at Hendricks event, which has been an SU holiday tradition for over a decade.

Photo: SU Photo & Imaging Center

While a number of groups filled the stage, professor Jose (Peppie) Calvar D.M.A, the artistic director for Holidays at Hendricks and assistant professor of Applied Music and Performance, says that the event didn’t always include such a large group of performers. Holidays at Hendricks used to only include the Hendricks Chapel Choir, but since Calvar’s involvement, the number of groups has grown.

In addition to being in charge of the artistic direction, Calvar is also responsible for bringing together the various choir groups that make up the show, an obligation he’s grateful for. “It’s the kind of work that I have to go home at night and thank my lucky stars that this is what I can do for a living,” says Calvar. “This is a privilege.”

After a “Prelude” from University organist Anne Laver, the choirs and the brass and organ ensembles started the show with a powerful performance of “In Dulci Jubilo (In sweet jubilation).

The performers shifted across the stage as the Hendricks Chapel Choir followed with “Ose Shalom”, the Syracuse University Singers with “Masters in this Hall” and “Ballade to the Moon” and the Syracuse University Brass Ensemble with “O Quam Gloriosa,” “Jingle Bells” and “Nowell”.

Around the middle of the show, the choir engaged the audience with a sing-along performance of “Winter Wonderland.” After, the Syracuse University Brass Ensemble followed with “Walking in Heroes” and “Christmas Festival,”and then the Hendricks Chapel Choir, Brass and Organ with “Christmas Canata.”

Syracuse Holiday at Hendricks concert

Photo: SU Photo & Imaging Center

Television, Radio & Film professor Keith Giglio was in the audience for the first time that night and plans on making an appearance in years to come.

“We’ve been here five years,” says Giglio, “and now I regret not going the previous four.”

The show ended with a candle-lighting ceremony and the choir’s performance of the holiday favorite,“Silent Night.” Members of the choir slowly walked down the center aisle of Hendricks Chapel lighting attendees’ candles as they sang along, a part of the event Dr. Elisa Dekaney, associate professor at the Setnor School of Music and artistic director of the Syracuse University Women’s Choir, finds particularly memorable.

“For a moment, you pause, and there’s unity,” says Dekaney. “There’s peace in the world for that one tiny moment.”

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