Wells School of Music Presents Virtual 99th Annual Holiday Program
The West Chester University Wells School of Music will continue an annual tradition, virtually. The 99th Annual Holiday Program will be available to members of the community and audiences worldwide on Saturday, December 5, at 3 p.m. This year’s event, which has been filmed in advance, edited and will use Livestream for viewing, is being offered to audiences for FREE. Visit www.livestream.com/wcupa to view the event.
A time-honored tradition for now 99 years, the Holiday Program features choral, orchestral and jazz ensembles from the esteemed Wells School of Music in a concert of holiday favorites, as well as selections that are inspired by the Season. The Holiday Program at West Chester is just one of over 300 programs presented annually by the Wells School of Music, this year, all presented virtually. Ryan Kelly, an associate professor at the Wells School of Music and the associate director of choral activities, directs the program, alongside multiple conductors.
Kelly says, “I and all of my colleagues and students are thrilled that we can continue this 99-year tradition. Albeit it a little differently this year, we hope that this concert can be a bright spot in this tumultuous year. Audiences are hungry for artistic experiences, especially holiday performances that have long-held a place in people’s hearts and on their annual calendars.”
The Wells School of Music has been an innovator during the COVID-19 pandemic, finding ways to continue hybrid classes, lessons, and performances using plexiglass, specialty masks and social distancing techniques. Strict safety guidelines were followed when filming participating ensemble performances.
“We filmed choral performances in campus parking garages, with ensemble members distanced and wearing masks. The sound bouncing off the concrete walls was amazing, so we found an acoustic benefit in using this non-traditional space.”
The West Chester University Symphony Orchestra is also a participant in this year’s production, but what audiences will see is highlights from previous year’s concerts because the 70-member ensemble – one of the school’s largest - is unable to perform together safely at this time.
The Criterions Jazz Ensemble, always a crowd favorite with their jazzy holiday renditions, recorded “Let it Snow,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and “Sleigh Ride,” in the Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall.
West Chester University’s Wells School of Music offers students an outstanding opportunity in concentrated performance and musicianship through its educational centerpiece — the Applied Music Department. The School’s superior performance and practice venues include 22 new Steinways, Skinner organ, tech lab, Roland piano lab, and more. Students study with renowned faculty who have dual careers as dedicated educators and professional musicians. Faculty provide private lessons for all music students and are the directors for numerous student ensembles. The School supports a wide variety of performance degrees, including a Bachelor of Music in Performance, as well as a Master of Music in Performance. Graduates pursue successful careers at major institutions and teach music education at home and abroad.