Collage concert shares holiday music

The musical voices of UK united this weekend to give a taste of holiday music.

Saturday and Sunday, the Singletary Center for the Arts hosted a holiday concert titled Collage. Collage featured every department of the choir with guest ensembles and soloists. This was the 12th Collage concert.

UK Choral Activities director Jefferson Johnson, welcomed all guests to the annual Collage Concert and gave a special thanks to all the guest ensembles and soloists. He recognized the two main sponsors: Fifth Element and Neurosurgical Associates.

Johnson was accompanied by Lori Hetzel, associate director of Choral Activities and professor of Choral Music Education. Johnson conducts the University Choral and Men’s Chorus, and Hetzel conducts the Women’s Choir and the a cappella group “Paws and Listen.”

UK Women’s Choir co-president Laura Shimko, spoke highly of Hetzel.

“Dr. Hetzel is like our mom,” Shimko said. “She knows each and every one of the 110 members of the Women’s Choir. She is constantly finding a way to bring emotion to everything we sing. She knows how to make us connect to the songs, and I wouldn’t be in choir if it wasn’t for her,” Shimko said.

All of the organizations were featured in the concert — the UK Choristers, UK Chorale, UK Women’s Choir, UK Men’s Chorus, AcoustiKats, Paws & Listen, Blue Note, Alluring Instrumental Performers and the Lexington Singers Children’s Choir.

The concert opened with all choirs singing “O Come All Ye Faithful.” Fourteen other songs were performed before an intermission. All of the departments performed throughout the concert. In the second half of the performance, 13 other holiday songs were performed.

Paws & Listen put some holiday spirit into their songs dressing up in pajamas, winter scarves and hats. Lisa Maxon, a junior at UK in Paws & Listen, says her favorite song to perform was “Baby it’s Cold Outside” with the AcoustiKats.

“It’s such a fun song. I love it because it’s very upbeat and we get to dance and be goofy. People get to see how much fun we all have together,” Maxon said.

The last song the whole choir sang was called “Betelehemu.” Senior Emily Conyea, in the Women’s Choir and Paws and Listen explained why “Betelehemu” is the most favored song in the concert.

“‘Betelehemu’ is everyone’s favorite song because it’s unique, and the only song where there is movement and clapping. There is a lot of diversity found within the song with the percussion instruments and all the different high and low points of the song. This is one of the few songs we do that’s in a different language,” Conyea said.

As “Betelehemu” ended and all of the performers took their bows, the lights dimmed to end the concert with a solemn encore performance of “Silent Night.”