The WHS Choir department had their annual Holiday show “Run Rudy Run” on Dec. 5, 6 and 7 in the Carpender Family Theatre.
The performance was directed by Amy Rolniak, who has headed the program since the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.
The show included a variety of festive pieces, both classical and contemporary, and the second half featured jazzy dance numbers with partnering and costumes.
The Freshman Chorus opened the performance with a beautiful and harmonious piece- “Ding-a Ding-a Ding”- followed by a holiday classic, “I Saw Three Ships.” I thought that the choir blended nicely and that the tone of their voices matched the songs well!
However, while both pieces were wonderfully performed, the last song sung by this group really stood out as unique.
“Your Holiday Song” featured not only the chorus and pianist David Fraley, but also guitar, played by freshman choir member Maddie Lynch ‘21.
This song was beautiful to listen to and really captured the spirit of Christmas. The added guitar solos alongside of the piano was both impressive and memorable, and several audience members in my row were moved to tears!
After the Freshman performance, Mixed Chorale performed a Spanish Christmas tune, “Fum Fum Fum.” I thought that the inclusion of a latin piece into the concert was very clever, as many of the members of the group were of Spanish decent.
Additionally, they performed “Somewhere In My Memory,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Grown Up Christmas List” and “Please Come Home for Christmas.”
They were followed by the Westlake Singers group, who sang an impressive Christmas Carol in German and Latin called “In Dulci Jubilo.”
They also sang “Winter Wonderland” and “Mary Sat A-Rockin,” which was a more upbeat song with a rhythm similar to that of a woman rocking her child. Both of these pieces were very festive and impressive, and the choir blended well together.
Womens Chorale performed “People, Look East,” “The World For Christmas,” and “Veni, Veni Emmanuel.” Rhett Nelson, another accompanist for the department, joined Fraley onstage to play for the group. There were then four hands on the piano, a completely unique experience for both the audience and I compared to choir concerts in the past.
The Mens Ensemble then tore the house down with “Rise up Shepard And Follow” and later their comedic performances of “Jingle Bells (Sort of)” and “Mele Kalikimaka”- in which they dressed up in Hawaiian skirts, held paper props and had choreographed choralography.
The Vocal Ensemble closed the first act with their rendition of “Chiribim Chiribom,” a lovely jewish piece originally song by The Barry Sisters in the 1960s. They also sang “Glow” and “Deck the Halls.”
What stood out to me in each of the Vocal Ensemble’s pieces is that they blended so incredibly well that it seemed to me that there was only one voice singing. They were an excellent finale to the first act.
Following intermission, A Class Act (ACA) performed songs including classics such as “White Christmas” and more contemporary pieces like “Underneath the Tree.” I thought that their costumes, carefully rehearsed routines and smiles really made me feel like dancing along right with them in the aisles!
Vocal Ensemble, Woman’s Chorale and Westlake Singers eventually joined ACA in performing dance routines to numbers such as “Run, Rudy, Run!,” “‘Zat You, Santa Claus,” and “Jolly Old Saint Nick”
The concert was ended with the Westlake High School Choir Department’s tradition of singing a classic, “Auld Lang Syne,” with seniors clutching hands in the front row.
All around me, people were crying and so incredibly moved by the passion that these WHS students exuded in the show.
I myself was deeply moved by the love and sense of community and family that the department shares.
Because of thses relationships, which are clearly visible even on stage, I cannot wait to see what the WHS Choir Department has in store.