PolyPhonics, the University Singers and Cal Poly Early Music Ensemble rang in the holiday season Saturday night with their choir concert “A Christmas Celebration” in the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center (PAC). The show was a cheerful and festive affair, not only showcasing the talent of Cal Poly Choirs but that of special performers as well.
This show was the last for Director of Choral Activities and Vocal Studies and Cal Poly Choirs conductor Thomas Davies. To celebrate his final year, Cal Poly choir alumni were welcomed back to sing with their former conductor. Their voices were strong, even after years away from choir. Davies shared light-hearted stories of past rehearsals and performances.
PolyPhonics kicked off the night with “Welcome Yule,” an upbeat and cheerful tune. Like many other songs performed, “Welcome Yule” was sung a cappella, showcasing the choir’s harmonic voices.
Between performances, music lecturer Susan Azaret Davies on piano and accompanist Paul Woodring on organ entertained the crowd with familiar Christmas carols. As special guests of the night, the Cal Poly Brass Ensemble performed “A Canadian Brass Christmas.”
Each choir’s performance was full of joy. A rich blend of talented voices, the choirs’ harmonies seemed effortless and kept the audience engaged throughout the night. “S’vivon (Spinning Top)” sung by the University Singers and “Carol of the Bells” performed by PolyPhonics were audience favorites.
PolyPhonics’ rendition of “The Rose That Bare Jesu,” composed by Ronald Kean, was a particularly special number as Kean was in the audience when it was performed. Images of a rose blooming on a winter morning displayed on the screen during the performance, paralleling the beautiful harmony and flow of the song.
Before the closing numbers of the show, everyone in the audience was invited to join in a carol sing-a-long. Joined by all three choirs, the sound of “Deck the Halls,” “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and “White Christmas” filled the PAC and created a perfect end to the night.
The audience and choirs sang “Silent Night” as the last song, closing the show in a heartfelt and touching way. The collaborative rendition of the song was intimate and special, as the choirs created a circle around the audience.