GAFFNEY, S.C. (courtesy limestone.edu) — Although it is not a traditional live Christmas performance, the Limestone University Department of Music’s pre-recorded “2020 Choral Christmas Project” brings cheer throughout the holiday season. The performance was released Dec. 7 and is available on the university’s YouTube channel or Facebook page. Sarah Kier Smith is the project’s videographer/editor.
“In these strange times, when singers, and wind instrument players are the most dangerous folks on earth, it has been a challenge for music teachers around the world to continue helping students to develop performance skills, and to help preserve and protect the role of the arts in our colleges and universities, our communities, our socio-economic systems, and basically in our culture,” said Dr. Gena Poovey, Limestone’s Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities, Professor of Choral/Vocal Music Education, and Director of Choral Activities. “To create the recording, our students have continued learning and growing as singers, and we all have continued to expand our knowledge in new areas of logistics and technology. We thank everyone who will take the time to listen to and watch the fruits of our ‘Choral during COVID 2020’ labors. We hope everyone will enjoy a taste of holiday musical cheer and find encouragement in the music that we have prepared.”
The project includes performances of Jay Atlhouse’s “Wintertime Cheer,” Pepper Choplin’s “You Are Not Alone,” Michael John Trotta’s “Veni, Veni Emmanuel,” Chaz Bowers’ “My Soul Proclaims Your Greatness,” Gilpin’s “Walkin’ Down the Road to Bethlehem,” Johann Sebastian Bach’s “With Songs of Rejoicing,” Pamela Bertin’s “Silent Night,” Walter Ehret’s “Behold That Star,” Carl Nygard, Jr.’s “Good Tidings We Bring,” and “We Need a Little Christmas” from “Mame,” arranged by Anita Kerr. Mikayla McCleaf is the soloist for “We Are Not Alone” and Bre Surratt performs the solo in “Behold That Star.”
Poovey served as the Conductor for the project, with Dr. David B. Thompson as the Accompanist. Soprano performances are by Alanie Blanton, Lucille Foley, Mallory Haynes, Grace Roberts, and Sybil Talley. Altos are Ariel Jones, McCleaf, Surratt, and Mimi McCully. Tenors are Mysaiah Benjamin, Jamaas Britton, Noah Lindemann, Shane Robertson, Brendan Tosti, and David Vassy. Basses are J.R. Bloomer, Bob McCully, and Billy Smith.
Nathaniel Hill performs on guitar, along with percussion performances by Zachary Poston, Jonathan Wyatt, and Ashlynn Ross.
Readers during the performance include Billy Smith, Grace Roberts, Alani Blanton, Brendan Tosti, McCleaf, and Lindemann. Bill West-Davis was the lighting designer for the project. Hosts included Natasha Jefferies, and Dr. Shane Robertson and David Vassy at Grassy Pond Baptist Church in Gaffney.
Due to the change in the academic calendar caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Limestone University and Community Chorus could not perform live this year as it ordinarily does during the institution’s “Christmas On Campus” event that coincides with the lighting of thousands of luminaries on and around the campus. The live concert and luminaries are expected to return bigger and better than ever next year.