By Hope Moural
Every holiday season, Concordia University embraces the festive period by hosting the Christmas at Concordia concert series. It consists of four shows over the course of the first weekend in December and draws up to 2,000 people to St. John Lutheran Church in Seward and involves students and faculty performing and playing music to welcome in Christmas.
Considering that the (free) tickets sell out in a matter of minutes, the event has gained quite the reception over the years. I can only imagine the congratulatory and pleasing comments the conductors, faculty and students receive. But what is it like from an audience member’s perspective? Well, you are in luck because this year, for the very first time, I was an audience member myself and by the end of the show, I was feeling more than ready to sing and honor the birth of Jesus.
It should be noted (from three previous years of being a participant) that there is a set rhythm to the series, with the same holiday classics being sung by both the choirs and the congregation each year, and of course, new music performed by each of the choirs and bands. But actually being able to sit in a pew this year, I very much appreciated hearing everyone around me sing along with gusto to “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” and “Joy to the World.”
Being able to sit in the audience, you also get to see the faces of those performing and at times, get to see what songs they perhaps most enjoy singing themselves. Whether it’s a smile or even a completely serious face, the hard work and engagement of the students shows through their facial expressions as they present their music to you—they want you to hear the Good News.
Your sense of those around you is heightened as an audience member. When the handbell choir plays a very technical song flawlessly, like this year’s “Wizards of Winter,” the murmurs of “Wow” and impressed whispers began. This not only pleased me, but I’m sure was well-received by the choir as well.
If you ever get the chance, please attend at least one Christmas at Concordia event. This isn’t a plug, free advertising or bias just because I have been involved in it myself. This is just me, a first-time audience member, standing in front of you and asking you to be amazed by a 90-minute production of the university I happen to attend. All right, maybe there is some bias present.
You don’t have to be a Christmas fanatic to enjoy it, that’s not what the concert series is about. Instead, it showcases the pure talent and dedication of students, faculty and anyone else involved that come together in such a beautiful manner to accomplish one goal: spreading the news about the birth of the Savior.
And who would want to miss out on that?