Published: Dec. 1, 2021 By

MFALFor many locals, the holiday season begins with the College of Music’s annual Holiday Festival featuring several of our ensembles—from the Holiday Festival Orchestra and the CU Chamber Singers to our West African Highlife Ensemble.

As a current graduate student studying violin performance and pedagogy—while serving as communications assistant for our college—it’s been rewarding to be a part of the behind-the-scenes preparations to launch this large-scale community event, Dec. 3-5. College of Music faculty and my fellow students have worked incredibly hard in rehearsals—especially since fall break—to deliver high quality performances this weekend. And the college’s communicators, marketers and box office staff have worked tirelessly, collaborating with different departments to creatively promote our Holiday Festival to interested audiences.

I’m honored to be concertmaster—the leader of the first violin section working closely with the conductor—this holiday season. I’m excited to be a part of this warm and entertaining holiday tradition presenting many beautiful arrangements of holiday favorites. One piece I particularly enjoy playing is “Christmas Overture” by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, an Afro-English composer. The most easily recognizable carol themes referenced in the overture include “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Good King Wenceslas” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”

With the college’s dedication to expanding diversity, equity and inclusion in everything we do, it’s been wonderful to work on a program that features repertoire from composers of all backgrounds, including works by historically underrepresented composers. 

This year more than ever, I’m grateful for the opportunity to perform live for in-person audiences. I’ve been talking with community members who are counting down to this concert-filled weekend—like me, many people are eager to return to some semblance of normalcy, including going to concerts and celebrating the holiday spirit together. 

Gregory Gentry, who conducts the CU Chamber Singers, puts it this way: “Both our students and staff are proud that we’re able to come back to this community tradition that was silenced last year because of the pandemic. The Holiday Festival has been and continues to be a gift to not only our students and campus community, but the broader community as a whole.”

See you at Macky Auditorium this weekend!

Photo: MarieFaith Lane, front and center, is concertmaster of this year's Holiday Festival.