Friday, December 10, 2010

Choir prepares for 'Lessons and Carols'

By Trisha Stachowski

Cardinal Staff

The Saint Mary’s University annual choir performance, “Lessons and Carols,” will be held on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Chapel of Saint Mary of the Angels.

“Lessons and Carols” was started at SMU by Choir Director, Patrick O’Shea in December of 1998. O’Shea, associate professor of music, has been involved in directing the choirs since he began teaching at SMU in 1997. Prior to directing choirs, O’Shea has always had an interest in music.

“I’ve been singing in choirs since elementary school,” says O’Shea, “but I’d have to say that I became interested in directing choirs professionally while in high school, especially after having participated in the Massachusetts All-State Choir”.

“’Lessons and Carols’ is a liturgical service of nine readings or “lessons”, with music interspersed, but we have adapted it in our context to include more music, and thus fewer readings,” said O’Shea. According to O’Shea, the readings center on the Nativity and the prophecy of Jesus Christ.

“Lessons and Carols” includes the Concert Choir, Chamber Singers and the Women’s Choir. The choirs have been practicing for the performance since September of this semester. When asked how working with three choirs was, O’Shea answered, “It works pretty well, but it requires some logistical planning to figure out how the choirs need to more during the performance.”

In order to aid the choirs, O’Shea typically creates stage plots to help the choirs synchronize their movements. “For this year, I made eleven stage plots of the chapel space with arrows and other indications to show how the choirs move,” said O’Shea. “Actually, this is a fairly simple year. I think my record is 18 stage plots.”

Photo by Amalia Santos

*Editor's note: The choir concert has been canceled due to blizzard conditions in Winona

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