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Music ensembles present “A Christmas Festival,” holiday performances

Jarek Buss | University Relations | 11 December 2015

On Tuesday, December 15, (7:30 PM, Cannon Activities Center) the BYU–Hawaii music ensembles will present “A Christmas Festival,” an evening performance celebrating the Christmas season through music. Admission is free and open to the public.

This Christmas concert is unique in BYU–Hawaii’s recent history; the new semester calendar has allowed the university ensembles to collaborate in a combined Christmas concert for the first time in many years. “A Christmas Festival” will feature performances by the Concert Choir, University Chorale, Salsa Orchestra, Shaka Steel, Chamber Orchestra, Brass Ensemble, North Shore Symphonic Wind Orchestra, and others.

In addition to the concert Tuesday evening, the ensembles will perform at the Christmas Devotional in the Cannon Activities Center that same morning at 11 AM (watch live online). The Devotional will be centered on sacred Christmas music; the evening concert will also feature traditional favorites.

Concert Choir: Formed in 1985, the BYU–Hawaii Concert Choir is the university's premier SATB ensemble. The choir performs a cappella and accompanied choral literature ranging from classical oratorio literature to international folk music, American musical theater selections, and art music of Europe, the Americas, and Polynesia. The choir has previously toured in China, Mongolia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Australia, among other locations. The choir is currently directed by Michael Belnap.

University Chorale: University Chorale is an open SATB ensemble for all BYU–Hawaii students and community members. The choir is currently conducted by Elizabeth Kammerer.

Salsa Orchestra: The BYU–Hawaii Salsa Orchestra was established at the university in 2006 out of the university Jazz Ensemble, which had existed for many years prior. The intent was to create an ensemble with international flavor, a more flexible instrumentation, and the involvement of more percussionists and singers. As such, the Salsa Orchestra is unique among the BYU campuses. The ensemble frequently tours throughout the Hawaiian islands, and will perform in Kauai in February 2016. The ensemble is under the direction of Dr. Darren Duerden.

Shaka Steel: The university’s popular steel drum band was formed in 2001. The 15-member ensemble performs the lively, fast-paced music of Latin America and the Caribbean on steel drums or “pans,” native instruments of Trinidad. This unique group creates a tropical ambience with crowd favorites such as the samba, reggae, spicy calypso, and rumba. The band is currently under the direction of Dr. Darren Duerden.

Chamber Orchestra: Since its inception in 2007, the BYU–Hawaii Chamber Orchestra has garnered a reputation for stirring performances and exciting collaborations. With a core of 25 strings and winds, the group often expands to over 40 performers, including a full orchestral contingent of brass and percussion. The Chamber Orchestra finds its roots in the orchestral works of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods, but often surprises audiences with a taste of the new or unexpected. The orchestra is conducted by Dr. Ernest Taniguchi.

Brass Ensemble: The BYU–Hawaii Brass Ensemble was one of the first performing groups organized at the university. In the early days of the Church College of Hawaii, the band performed regularly in parades, at the Polynesian Cultural Center, and at other special events, including a reception for former President George Bush. Their first tour was an inter-island excursion in the late '70s. The tradition continues today as the Brass Band is still one of the university's most popular ensembles, frequently performing throughout the Pacific over the last 35 years. The band's latest cross-cultural exchange included hosting the Tongan Army Royal Corps of Musicians during Golden Jubilee festivities in October 2005. The ensemble is directed by Dr. David Kammerer.

North Shore Symphonic Wind Orchestra: The North Shore Symphonic Wind Orchestra is a college-community venture comprising current BYU–Hawaii students and members of the surrounding Ko'olauloa community. The ensemble includes woodwinds, brass, and percussion, and performs high-quality band repertoire from a variety of musical genres. The orchestra is directed by Dr. Ernest Taniguchi.