Campus News

A Saint Leo Christmas

Saint Leo University kicked the Christmas season with a tuneful beginning. The School of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Language Studies and the Arts presented “A Saint Leo Christmas,” which was held on Nov. 29, in the Greenfelder-Denlinger Boardrooms. The concert consisted of holiday music, performed by Saint Leo students and faculty.

Entering the concert, the audience members were greeted by friendly faces handing out programs. The room was decorated with sparkling Christmas ornaments hanging from the ceiling and large Christmas trees on either side of the seating areas. The Christmas tree settings included fake snow and were lit with fairy lights, giving a cozy feeling when the main lights were turned off during the performances. Cynthia Selph, concert director, lead the show with the Saint Leo Singers, who opened with John Leavitt’s “Hodie.”  The show overall was well organized and gave a sense of joy to the audience.

Selph commented proudly on all of the singer’s hard work. “We started after the concert in October,” she said, referring to the “Fall into Song” concert in late October. “In total, we have been practicing about five weeks.”

Saint Leo Singers was the largest group to perform that nightSingers included Sopranos  Adidah Adkins, Savannah Benik, Olivia Callahan, Amy, Dipiazza, Tihana Hajdinjak, Brigid McLaughlin, Lucy McManus, Tiffani Rees, Briana Williams, and Naomi Wright; Altos Demian Ago-Stallworth, Anne Alvarez, Kayla Branham, Keronhica Desir, Faith Healy, Alexa Jary, Despina Kantounis, Rosemary Luycx, and Annie Spinella; Tenors Jose Baez-Deleon, Anthony Marchitto, Christopher Rivera, and Steven Santora; and  The Baritone/Bases Edward Gemma, Joseph Gilbert, Maurquise McGill, Chris Overton, Anthony Shultz, and James Spute.

“I thought it went awesome,” said biology major Steven Santora, regarding the overall success of the event. “My favorite part was ‘Breath of Heaven,’” which was a piece performed by some of his fellow members of Saint Leo Singers.

The set list included the “Nutcracker Suite” performed by Saint Leo Strings and the Saint Leo Strings performance of “God Rest You Merry Gentlemen,” and “Sleigh Ride.” The trio was made up of three violinists; Chynna-Rose Foulkes, Michael Gula, and Angela Lazzarro.

The third tune was “Winter Song,” performed by SASS. They also sang an acapella version of “Winter Wonderland/ Don’t Worry Be Happy,” directed by Pamela DeCius. SASS consisted of thirteen students; Adidah Adkins, Jasmine Collins, Mary Cruz, Hope Swaim, Madeline Treadway, Jamie Bider, Taylor Constantino, Devin Hardt, Amanda Topper, Emily Cassar, Gabriela Court, Charis Lavoie, and Rebecca Trabing.

The Saint Leo Rhythm Machine performed “Let it Snow,” “Feliz Navidad,” and “Sleigh Ride.” Rhythm Machine included John G. MacDonald, Grace McIntosh, Mario Sanchez, Trevor Wieprecht, Michael N. Williams, William Mondy, Debra Sailer, and Mauricio J. Rodriguez.

Chamber Singers sang “Silent Night,” and “What Sweet Music.” They were organized with several sopranos, altos, tenors, baritones, and basses from Saint Leo Singers. They added a few lovely additions to their section, including accompanist Inna Korotkevitch and guest percussionist Debra Sailer.

Just the Facts performed “We Wish You the Merriest.” They were directed by Selph and consisted of  staff members Sister Roberta Bailey, Dr.Alicia Corts, Diana Morande, Philoe Wanjiru, Kara Winkler, Janet Franks, Renne Gould, Michaelle Joy, MaureenRothberg, Mindy Simpson, Ralph Sailer, Johnathan Hehn, and Jerome Williams.

The sixteen songs performed were uplifting and held the audience’s interest throughout the entire show. Kaitlyn McWilliams, Biology major, said, “I thought it was great, I really loved it. My favorite part was when they [Saint Leo Rhythm Machine] performed “Feliz Navidad,” and I especially loved the engagement from the audience.”

The finale was sung by the Saint Leo Singers with instrumentals by Saint Leo Strings and Saint Leo Rhythm Machine. The singers donned Santa hats and performed an enthusiastic rendition of “Sleigh Ride,” a perfect way to end the last concert of the semester. In the spirit of the Christmas season, the concert program also presented a special thanks to all the faculty and staff who made the concert possible.

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