Dordt University choirs perform Christmas concerts

Dayna Wichhart—Staff Writer

This past week, the Dordt University Music Department put on three choral concerts in a week’s time. 

Clayton Baas, a sophomore, had three different concerts on three different days. His involvement made for a busy schedule. Bass is a member of the Canons of Dordt, Chorale, and the 4th Avenue Singers. 

On Friday, Dec. 3, the B.J. Haan Auditorium lined with students, parents, grandparents, and community members for the Choral Ensembles Concert. The organ’s music filled the room as audience members shuffled into the pews and chatted with their neighbors. 

“My favorite concert of the year is the Christmas concert,” soprano Sommer Schaap said. “It presents traditional Christmas carols in a nontraditional arrangement.”

As the organist, junior Isabel Munson, concluded her final prelude piece, the audience’s applause welcomed the first choir to the stage. That night, three choirs took the stage for the concert: Bella Voce, the Canons of Dordt, and the Concert Choir.

Bella Voce, an all-women’s choir, sang first. “Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day” provided a highlight from this group. The traditional English carol featured soprano Annette Jacobson with accompaniment from Hannah Burgsma on harp. The harp’s melodic notes, mixed with the choir’s voices, captivated the audience.

The Canons of Dordt, made up of all male singers, took the stage next. The Canons featured three tenors: Henry Hakanson, Austin Faber, and Davis Tebben. 

Hakanson and Faber performed a back-and-forth solo during “Gaudete” and Tebben soloed during “Veni, Veni Emmanuel.” The choir utilized percussionists for two of their songs to add rhythm and depth to their sound. 

The Concert Choir took the stage last. “Gloria” highlighted soprano Johanna Gross and bass Isaiah de Regt as soloists. 

“This year, I really like our song ‘The Tyger,’” Schaap said. “It’s very energetic and intense, not what you would expect from a Christmas piece.” 

Then, two nights later, on Sunday, Chorale performed a lessons and carols service. The concert incorporated nine Scripture readings that told the story of Jesus’ birth. For each reading that occurred, a song followed. In a select number of pieces, the audience stood and joined the choir in song. 

The service began with Chorale’s members walking down the auditorium’s side aisles singing “Of the Father’s Love Begotten.” The low notes floated softly over the hushed audience as the men sang the first verse and the women followed with the second. The choir, robed in white, filed into the risers and both men and women joined together to finish the final verse of the song. 

“My favorite part about Dordt choir is the robes we get to wear,” Baas said. 

The choir featured a few individual soloists: soprano Georgia Lodewyk soloed for “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” soprano Breanna Ten Pas soloed for “Sweet, Little Jesus Boy,” and soprano Lynn Smit soloed for “Talia Miracula.”

To finish the concert, both audience and choir stood together and sang “Joy to the World.” Hundreds of voices, a brass quintet, and an organ made music to fill the auditorium, proclaiming the joy that came through Jesus’ birth. 

The final choral concert for the semester will happen on Friday, Dec. 10. The jazz choir and the jazz band will both perform, in addition to the chamber orchestra. 

“Choir at Dordt is one of my favorite things about this university.” Senior Lindsey Ver Meer said. “There is a place for everyone who loves to sing in one of the choral ensembles.”

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