Sounds of the season

Wind Ensemble Director Paul Michelson directs one of the musical selections during a past concert.

Holiday concerts to feature campus musical ensembles

by Josiah Thomas, Campus Life Editor

Enjoy the magic of the season by joining the music department for its annual “Sounds of the Season” holiday concert, featuring the Wind Ensemble, Collegiate Chorale and the Synthesizer Ensemble electronic music group on Dec.  8 at 7:30 p.m. in the DiPonio Room of the VisTaTech Center. Admission is free and open to the public.
This concert is coordinated by Paul Michalsen, Director of the Wind Ensemble.
During the Wind Ensemble portion of the concert there will be the holiday sing-along, “A Christmas Festival” by Leroy Anderson which, according to Michalsen, is a performance “not to be missed.”
Some of the other musical selections performed by the ensemble include: The Rains of Scarborough Fair arranged by Randall Standridge Traditional English Ballad A Traditional Ballad set in a contemporary mood with rhythm and rain sound effects, the original melody being shared with each section of the ensemble being featured; A Holiday Rhapsody, by Larry MacTaggart, a piece originally written for the United States Air Force Band in Washington D.C. which is an exciting showcase for all sections of the ensemble.
A fresh new arrangement performed by the ensemble will feature works the audience will recognize including: “The 12 Days of Christmas”, “Gloria” (from “Angels we Have Heard on High”) and “Deck the Halls”. One very special arrangement is Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson, a traditional favorite for all audiences presenting sounds of a sleigh ride through the snow with the song. Additionally, “The Polar Express” arranged by Paul Lavender Musical is presented with selections from Warner Bros. Pictures, bringing the sounds of the popular movie to the performance stage during this concert.
In collaboration with the Synthesizer Ensemble, directed by Dr. Barton Polot, head of the Music Department and director of Schoolcraft’s Synthesizer Ensemble, the Wind Ensemble will perform “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by Chip Davis & Robert Longfield. This was a traditional seasonal arrangement, featuring Chip Davis and his Mannheim Steamroller recordings. Originally arranged by Robert Longfield, the ensemble is joined in this performance by Polot on Electric Synthesizer.
“This group is one of very few electronic music groups in higher education today,” said Polot. “In the state of Michigan there are only three others: Wayne State’s Electronic Music Ensemble, WMU’s Kalamazoo Laptop Orchestra and the University of Michigan’s Digital Music Ensemble.”
The Synthesizer Ensemble performance in Sounds of the Season features electronic versions of a Mozart minuet, jazz by Freddie Hubbard, fusion by Billy Cobham, and classic rock by the Doors, with a special holiday song in the works.
The Schoolcraft Collegiate Chorale, directed by Dr. Jonathan Drake, Director of Vocal Studies, will be performing the music of Dowland, Schubert, Douglas, Praetorius, Adler, Craig Hella-Johnson, plus some holiday favorites. In addition, Drake will lead the Collegiate Chorale, Wind Ensemble and the audience in this traditional rendition of Holiday favorites. Included are Joy to The World, Deck the Halls, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Good King Wenceslas, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Silent Night, Jingle Bells and O Come All Ye Faithful.
“There is nothing like leading a group of committed and focused people in a singular purpose like a concert,” said Drake. “Music ensembles are an integral part of campus life at any college and if anyone has an interest in participating, they are welcome to contact one of the ensemble directors.”
Continuing with the holiday spirit the Jazz studies program featuring the Jazz Ensemble, the Vocal Jazz Ensemble and the Jazz Improvisation Combo will be performing its annual “Winter Wonders” concert on Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the DiPonio Room of the VisTaTech Center.
The Jazz Studies program, under the direction of Riccardo Selva. Admission is free.  Donations will be gratefully accepted at the door and will be used to fund student scholarships and the Jazz Program.
For further information concerning the concerts contact Patricia Minnick at 734-462-4403 or
email [email protected]