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"Winter Song" Highlights MU Musical Talent

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Decked with holiday garb, Wilson Hall provided a grand setting once again for the annual winter concert. On Dec. 12, the Monmouth University Department of Music and Theatre Arts presented this year’s “Winter Song,” a night filled with splendid musical talent from a variety of performers.
This year’s concert featured many talented singers and instrumentalists alike. The night began with several soloists followed by the University’s Chamber Chorus, Directed by Dr. David Tripold. The Chamber Chorus joyfully sang holiday favorites such as “Deck the Hall (Welsh Carol)” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
Next up, the Chamber Orchestra, directed by Professor Michael Gillette performed various winter classics, like “Three Dances from the Nutcracker,” setting a lively and warm tone for the beginning of the event.

By Amanda Gruber.
By Amanda Gruber.

After the Chamber Orchestra, the Jazz Hawks took the stage will several upbeat, jolly tunes. “A Chili Pepper Christmas” was particularly bright and the energy of the song was translated through the performance and focus of the musicians. “Go Tell it on the Mountain” was the Jazz Hawk’s last musical number, and another upbeat hit.
Following a brief intermission, the concert continued with several soloists. Erin Holmes and Nickolas Haberstroh performed a charming rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, while Randal Hurst delivered a soothing performance of “White Christmas,” and Carolina Carvalho presented a strong, beautiful “O Holy Night.”
Haberstroh explained his delight in being a featured soloist in this year’s winter concert, “It was a thrilling experience that I’m really glad I got to share with one of my best friends [Holmes] I’m just glad we didn’t mess up the lyrics,” he jokes. “It’s quite imposing to perform at such a large event. This year’s concert was amazing. There was a high level of talent among all the performers and there was a lot of energy in Wilson Hall this year.”
The Harmonic Joules Glee Club performed their songs directly on the Grand Staircase. The club incorporated dance and movement along with singing and performed familiar songs such as “Little Saint Nick” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town (mash up)”. In addition, the Harmonic Joules performed an original song written by Jasmine Walker titled “Perfect Touch.” This unique holiday tune was accompanied by Taylor Bernosky (Violin), Michael Aragones (Percussion) and Connor Healey (Bass).
As the concert drew to an end, the Concert Chorus performed many holiday songs, representing varying faiths and traditions. Monmouth student Ross Bernstein recited “Shalom Aleichem,” traditional Hebrew liturgy and performed Chanukah Candle Blessings before the Chorus sang the spirited, lively song “Hanukkah Nagilah” (a Hebraic folk song). The performers also sang well-known carols, including “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “What Child is This?”.
By Amanda Gruber.
By Amanda Gruber.

A new member of the Concert Chorus, Ryan Murphy, was very excited to perform with such a hard working group. “The winter concert was such a fun experience. Dr. Tripold, our director, has done such a great job leading us over the past semester that the final concert felt like a breeze. By far my favorite piece that the concert choir performed was entitled I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day, and we sang alongside a bell choir, which was really cool,” said Murphy.
The final performers to join “Winter Song” were the Exultation Ringers of the Colts Neck Reformed Church, directed by Maggie Tripold. The bell choir added a unique sound to the concert, as the musicians masterfully played several holiday compositions, including “A Christmas Festival,” which included just about every popular Christmas carol.
The bell choir is always an audience favorite at the winter concert, especially amongst Monmouth students. “My favorite part of the winter concert is always the bell choir. It’s something different, and they’re all so talented,” said Haberstroh.
The bell choir also performed “The 12 Days of Christmas,” along with the concert chorus, including crafted posters that illustrated each gift for the 12 days. Last but not least, the bell and concert chorus gave a resounding performance of “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” accompanied by Joy Lenz on the flute. This song ended the night with a powerful, joyful finish and was met by enthusiastic applause.
“Winter Song” highlighted the hard work and dedication of the Music and Theatre Department, as these talented musicians performed lively holiday songs for the community.
By Amanda Gruber.
By Amanda Gruber.

“Events like the Winter Concert are so beneficial for the campus community because it allows artists of all levels to come together and show their love of music and performance during a night of holiday celebration,” said Murphy.
Haberstroh strongly agrees and added, “It’s an important event because it really showcases a lot of the skilled musicians and singers we have here at Monmouth.”
If you missed this delightful holiday event, be sure to check the Monmouth University events calendar to learn more about upcoming performances in the Music and Theatre Department!