Syracuse community comes together for annual holiday concert

The "Holiday at Hendricks" concert filled the halls with the sound of music, from modern melodies to classical tunes.

Before the doors had even opened for Sunday night’s Hendricks Chapel Holiday Concert, a line of people had already formed outside in hopes of grabbing the best seat in the house. A half-hour to go, and every seat was filled. As more people continued filing into the packed chapel, many stood wherever there was room.

"It’s the most popular concert because it’s a longstanding tradition."
- Emily LoBraico

Students, faculty, alumni and community members crammed together, row after row, but the large crowd wasn’t a surprise for concert choir member, Emily LoBraico. “It’s the most popular concert because it’s a longstanding tradition. Alumni who used to perform in the concert come back. There are also a lot of younger families from the Syracuse area,” LoBraico says.

The annual concert is a culmination of all student choirs from the Setnor School of Music, the Liverpool First United Methodist Church Handbell Choir and the SU Brass Ensemble. LoBraico noted the energy was unlike any concert she had performed in before.

“I wish we could receive such support for every concert we have,” LoBraico said. “Because a concert is so much more fun to participate in when there’s a large, energized audience.”

Spirits were especially high when students, children, grandparents, parents sang along to the SU Brass Ensemble’s performance of highlights from Disney’s Frozen soundtrack.

While the concert concluded in a traditional Silent Night candle lighting ceremony, LoBraico said the event has no faith behind it.

“The show’s spiritual undertone is more so focused on bringing together people from all parts of the community,” LoBraico said.

That closeness was even more evident during the combined choirs and brass performance of the soulful rendition of Hallelujah. Led by Director Peppie Calvar, audience members and performance members clapped to the beat, while hallelujahs echoed throughout the chapel.

LoBraico said she couldn’t believe how quickly it came together. “Typically each choir practices individually, so we only had one dress rehearsal to get it right. I thought it came out to be beautiful.”

Audience members agreed. The show had a total of three standing ovations, an indication that this Syracuse tradition is a community-wide favorite, sure to continue for years to come. 

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