The Seton University Chorus, Chamber Choir, Orchestra and Concert Band will be performing at the annual Seton Hall Winter Concert on Dec. 4 at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC).
Jason Tramm, director of choral activities, will conduct both the choir and the orchestra. Charles Yassky will direct the concert band. “We’re both very excited to showcase this ensemble’s talent and their hard work, while also having a nice time to celebrate the holidays,” Tramm said.
One piece Tramm said he is enthusiastic for is “Song of the Universal” by composer Ola Gjeilo. He said the orchestra will also be performing the piece at Saint Bartholomew’s Church in New York City after being selected to play in their prestigious 2018-19 season.
“I am very proud of it because it was most challenging and we worked the whole semester on it,” Tramm said. “We really tried to bring that to the audience, and they will also be performing holiday songs.”
Yassky said he is excited to showcase all the hard work the students put in this semester into making the concert a wonderful experience. “You need some music, it wouldn’t be the holiday season if you didn’t start opening the doors to music,” Yassky said. “We’re doing a variety of music styles. SOPAC is a very nice space, it has got fine acoustics and it is not too big so it can be an intimate space for the community.”
Yassky described the different musical styles that will be performed, like classic British music, music from composer George Gershwin and more. He added, “We also have selections from the Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky, which most people have heard at some point in their lives.”
The band will also perform “Ashokan Farewell,” the theme song of the infamous series Civil War by Ken Bern.
“All the songs have their own challenges,” Yassky said. “’The Nutcracker, from a classical and technical perspective, is challenging in contrast to Gershwin, which note-wise may not be as hard but is a completely different style. It’s like in one piece you are speaking one language and in the next you are speaking a completely different tongue, so that is one challenge of this concert, the switch of styles.”
Tien Phan, a sophomore diplomacy major, shared his thoughts on the upcoming concert as a performing member of the choir. “I’m excited for the concert because it’s the last concert before the end of the semester,” Phan said. “It gives the students involved a chance to perform for not only the student body, but also the village community.”
Phan said he is especially excited for the orchestra’s performance of “Song of the Universal,” which he finds both challenging and beautiful. “It’s a song that reflects on the nature of the world, it can be peaceful and chaotic at the same time, which is interesting,” he said. “Rehearsals have been well and everyone is working hard to learn these songs for the holiday spirit.”
Yassky encouraged students to join the band and become part of next year’s performance. “We have grown a lot this year, and we are always looking for new members and you can take the course for credits or not,” Yassky said. “One thing about our music department is that you really have a center for friends who have a common interest and it is a family within a family.”
Werdeh Hassan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.