The lights were dim and soft Christmas music was playing as people entered the building. Everyone was talking and laughing, waiting for the concert to start.
Saint Augustine’s University’s annual Holiday Concert, which was held on Friday, Dec. 5, in the Seby Jones auditorium, brought together alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff and community members to watch students perform holiday music.
Interim President Dr. Everett B. Ward, stepped on stage at one point to set the warm and welcoming tone of the concert. “I want to thank the community and our church family for keeping us in their prayers,” Dr. Ward said. “The community and our church family has been helping us ever since 147 years ago, and today we say thank you because we are going to be here for another 147 years.”
The first performance was by the University Brass Ensemble, directed by Alfred L. Davis Jr. of Saint Augustine’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts. The band played six traditional Christmas carols such as “Deck the Halls,” “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” “Silent Night,” and “Jingle Bells” as parents, faculty and students swayed to the music.
Next up, Kimberly E. Dunn, director the University Choir and Vocal Ensemble, announced that her “Singing little Angels” would raised their voices in song. The choir and sang eight different historical Christmas songs that made the crowd sing along to every song. The opening hymn, “Hallelujah, Christ is Born, was performed by Rosephanye Powell.” The second song, “Negro Bell Carol,” was song by soloist Jaelen Daniels, a baritone. The choir came together for the third song, “Gentle Mary.”
Soloist Gavin Thomas took the crowd to another level with his amazing bass voice singing “Mary Did You Know.” Soprano Soloists Asiah Best and Benita Mountain came together on “I Wonder as I Wander.” The vocal Ensemble ended their performance with “Carol of the Bells,” “The Christmas Song” and “Rocking Jerusalem.”
At the closing of the concert, Dr. Ward asked everyone to stand and sing “Joy to the World.”
The concert was needed, student Benita Washington said.
“This puts the mind of students in a positive way, Washington said. “Students should be in a joyful spirit since this is the season. Everyone should come together and love one another no matter what we have gone through with this university in the past six months.”
— Adonica Stewart