USA East Music BULLETIN - WINTER 2018/19 - ISSUE 1 | Page 12

MASSACHUSETTS CHRISTMAS By Matthew Luhn, Divisional Music Director, MA The Boston Kroc Center was buzzing with anticipation on Sunday, December 2, 2018. People from all corners of Massachusetts entered the building eager to begin to celebrate the Christmas season by attending The Sounds of Christmas, a Massachusetts Divisional Christmas Concert featuring over 100 performers. This being the third annual concert of its nature, it is wonderful to declare that a new annual Holiday tradition has been born in the Massachusetts Division! The evening started off festively from the lobby as the Singing Company from Fitchburg, MA greeted early-arriving concert- goers. The Divisional Band, Mass Brass, was seated on stage to begin the program to a capacity crowd in the Kroc Center’s cozy chapel. After some words of welcome from Divisional Music Director B/M Matthew Luhn, the band was featured several times during the first half of the concert and delighted the audience with band selections Christmas Medley (Phillips), Silent Night (Gates), and a thrilling and challenging rendition of Christmas Finale (Lovatt-Cooper). In addition, the band led the congregation in the singing of Joy to the World, and Hark! the Herald Angels Sing. The first half of the program also featured spirited performances from the Lawrence Corps Dance Team and the Youth Arts Ministry (YAM) Timbrel Brigade. Other highlights included a piano solo from Christian Tavares (New Bedford) and a thought-provoking, well-delivered skit from Camp Wonderland staff members Christopher Molinaro and Katie Lugo. The first half concluded with a mass chorus singing This Kingdom and I Heard the Bells. The choir included all seventy members of YAM as well as the entire divisional band. It was led by S/L Debbie Bowin and accompanied by Jill Piercey (Quincy). After a brief intermission, the audience was able to relax and enjoy Christmas jazz selections delivered by special guest musicians from The Real School of Music in Andover, MA. After a brief intermission, the audience was able to relax and enjoy Christmas jazz selections delivered by special guest musicians from The Real School of Music in Andover, MA. The second half of the program included many performers from the divisional Youth Arts Ministry program. The Worship Team (Anne Rich), Drama Troupe (Alexus Zuniga/Lt. Wonni In), and Dance Troupe (Paula Baigorria/ Capt. Sally Warren) all engaged the audience in a powerful way, and Joshua Norman and Alexa Davis led the congregation in singing O Come, O Come Emmanuel. A highlight of 12 • USA EAST MUSIC BULLETIN | W I N T E R 2019 the second half was witnessing Joel Piercey (Quincy) make his conducting debut by leading the YAM Brass Band through an arrangement of O Come, All Ye Faithful. As has also become a Christmas tradition, Major Margaret Davis delivered a moving and declarative vocal solo, Breath of Heaven, near the program’s conclusion. Throughout the entire evening, scripture had been read and woven into the program by Teresa Jordan (DHQ), Jen Forster (Camp Wonderland), Dustin Richardson (Brockton), Heather Luhn (Quincy), and Peter Slack (Quincy). Lt. Enmanuel Villegas (Springfield) wrapped up these progressive thoughts by delivering a Christmas devotional that challenged the audience to seize the opportunity of the season by allowing Christ into each concert- goer’s heart. The Sounds of Christmas concluded with a final congregational singing of O Come, All Ye Faithful. Mass Brass provided the accompaniment and B/M Matthew Luhn led the congregation in singing as the YAM Chorus members lined all of the aisles in the Kroc Center Chapel. It was a fantastic evening of meaningful Christmas cheer and anticipation. We’re already looking forward to The Sounds of Christmas in 2019! ■ W W W. M U S I C . S A CO N N E C T S . O R G