College launches season with choir concert and tree lighting

December 05, 2011

With a flick of a switch, McDaniel’s holiday tree burst into light after the Dec. 4 choir concert to officially launch the holiday season on the Hill.

Jim Lightner, professor of Mathematics Emeritus and college trustee, presented the history of the tree lighting and then Karen Violanti, dean of the first year program, pulled the switch to illuminate the 14-foot “live” balled Canaan fir with energy-efficient LED lights in front of Baker Memorial Chapel after the concert. The tree will be moved to a spot in front of Hoover Library after the tree-lighting ceremony, and later planted on the golf course. Sorority Phi Sigma Sigma won the ornament-decorating contest with Dance Team and Student Athletic Advisory Committee coming in second and third respectively.

The choir, under the direction of Music professor Margaret Boudreaux, processed into Baker Chapel with voices and percussion on “Shosholoza,” a South African song depicting a train, but symbolizing the long struggle for freedom. Next was “The Long Road,” by Erik Esenvalds, a love song in which the road is long, but the time nevertheless too short. The choir then went to sea with “Skye Boat Song,” arranged by Scottish composer Ken Johnson, followed by “Put Vejini,” a Latvian folk song describing a little boat carrying the traveler to shore.

“We next turn to allegorical ‘journeys’ as we describe the mystical power of Ezekiel's vision in the spiritual ‘Ezekiel Saw De Wheel,’ arranged by Moses Hogan, followed by the wonder of the miracle celebrated at Hannukah, depicted by the spinning dreidel in ‘S'vivon,’” Boudreaux says. “As we approach the end of our journey we take sleigh rides, first in Estonia with ‘Ule Lume Lagedale,’ and then more familiarly with ‘Jingle Bells.’”

The concert also featured performances by the McDaniel College Madrigal Singers. To recognize the grandeur of the College’s newly renovated organ, the Choir was joined by Masterworks Chorale of Carroll County on “Lobet den Herrn” by Michael Praetorius, which is a new edition by Boudreaux, prepared specifically for this concert. The concert concluded in its traditional way, with choir inviting alumni up to the stage to join in on “Still, Still, Still,” and then surrounding the audience for “Silent Night.”