St. Thomas held its 25th annual Christmas choir concert “Venite Adoremus” at the Minneapolis Convention Center Sunday, featuring more than 300 student performers in eight of the university’s vocal and instrumental groups.
Typically, the event has been hosted at Orchestra Hall, but this year the concert was held at a different location because Orchestra Hall is closed for renovations. Because of the venue change, there was one performance instead of the usual two.
“The convention center auditorium holds more than twice the number of people as Orchestra Hall, therefore only one concert is necessary,” Chamber Choir and Concert Choir director Angela Broeker said.
Freshman Concert Choir singer Allison O’Shaughnessy said she was excited to hear that the performance was at the convention center.
“I really love the acoustics. I think it’s a really nice venue and it’ll fit a lot of people,” O’Shaughnessy said.
While some were satisfied with the performance at the convention center’s auditorium, sophomore choir singer Chad Berg said he misses performing at Orchestra Hall.
“I am a huge fan of Orchestra Hall, so I would still rather sing there, but the fact that we only have to do one concert as opposed to two is really nice,” Berg said.
Because the event occurred at a different venue, Broeker was unsure whether acoustics would affect the performance.
“Acoustics are different in every performance facility. Because the auditorium wasn’t built for this type of concert, we’ll use microphones to assure that all ensembles are heard clearly in every part of the hall,” Broeker said.
The performers arrived at the Minneapolis Convention Center at 8 a.m. and practiced all the way through their 1:15 p.m. dress rehearsal in preparation for the 4 p.m. performance.
“The best part I think is getting together with all the people you appreciate and doing something you love, which is singing for us,” Berg said.
Jennifer Reusz attended the concert to support her brother, junior Thomas Reusz, in the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and the Liturgical Choir. She has attended the Christmas concert at Orchestra Hall in the past.
“I think the sound is a little bit better at (Orchestra Hall), just the acoustics are better,” Reusz said. “It’s a little damper sound, but you still get a good taste of the choirs.”
Another change is that the concert is usually filmed every other year but since it wasn’t at Orchestra Hall, the filming will be pushed back until next year.
“I’m a little bummed out. It would have been really cool,” O’Shaughnessy said.
The groups who performed include: the Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, Liturgical Choir, Women’s Choir, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Brass Ensemble and Handbell Choir.
Broeker said an African percussion ensemble lead by Sowah Mensah (master drummer from Ghana) and a professional string quartet were new. She said the show took months to prepare for.
“Our ensemble directors chose repertoire for this event during the summer, and many groups began rehearsing the repertoire in October,” Broeker said.
Nearly 3,600 people attended the show. During specific parts of the performance, audience members are encouraged to sing along.
“I think it’s great. I like how they have the audience interact. The part when we get to sing. I like the mix of the music too. They don’t have just traditional music,” Reusz said.
“It’s very intimidating and exciting at the same time. It’s a really big space and there are a lot of people watching you because this venue can hold so many people,” O’Shaughnessy said.
Berg said he enjoys both performing and celebrating the Christmas spirit through song.
“You are with some of the most quality people on campus and you are just making good music,” Berg said. “It’s the Christmas season. What isn’t there to be happy about?”
Stephanie Dodd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.