By Madison Basco, Copy Editor
With the holidays quickly approaching, students can’t help but get into the Christmas spirit. Luckily for those itching to celebrate, the 31st annual Festival of Christmas put on by the School of Performing Arts is right around the corner. Attendees can expect to be dazzled by a multitude of classic Christmas songs, cheery Christmas sweaters and an ode to the true meaning of Christmas: Christ’s birth.
Many people are involved in Festival of Christmas including concert choir, student dancers, Ouachita Singers and even those from the Arkadelphia community.This year’s show is being directed by Adam Wheat.
Sophomore Kayla Johnson has enjoyed preparing for the performance through the concert choir this year.
“We practice during concert choir class time from 8:30-9:45 on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” Johnson said. “It’s a lot of fun because we get to wake up on Tuesdays and Thursdays and sing Christmas music. We also get to learn dances from our director.”
Johnson says that students should come out and see Festival of Christmas this year to get into the Christmas spirit and celebrate the true meaning of the holiday.
Students can look forward to supporting their classmates who are performing through song and dance, as well as faculty who spent time picking out music and choreographing the dances.
“Who doesn’t love Christmas, and who doesn’t love supporting fellow students?” Johnson asked. “Everyone can do just that by watching a quick hour and a half show that’s all about Christmas, snow falling and presents, but also about the real reason we celebrate Christmas. There is something so fun about getting to watch a Christmas show right when December starts. It really gets people in the Christmas spirit.”
Senior Avery Stahl is helping direct a small ensemble for Festival of Christmas this year. She explains her experience in the leadership role and what she’s learned.
“There are three small ensembles, each with around 10 to 12 singers, and it is all student-led,” Stahl explained. “We rehearse once a week, and it’s so fun being a part of a smaller group because it feels more like a solo performance than being in the huge choir does. It’s a great opportunity for the more reserved singers to step out of their shell, hold a mic and sing different styles of music that might be out of their comfort zone.”
Students have been practicing for this performance since August.
“We’ve been working so hard to bring the best quality music, choreography and entertainment we can,” Stahl said. “All dances will be done by the Ouachita Dance Company, a student-founded, student-led organization. Memorizing upwards of 12 songs in just a couple months is truly a feat, but it’s been very rewarding.”
Stahl expects there to be a good turnout this year, not just of students, but of those in the surrounding community as well.
“Arkadelphia has always been a huge supporter of this show and the students in it,” Stahl explained.
Stahl believes that all those who attend will find something to enjoy at Festival of Christmas.
“Whether it’s the singing, the dancing, the joy of attending a live performance or simply getting into the Christmas spirit, you won’t leave Festival of Christmas without a smile on your face and a Christmas song stuck in your head,” Stahl said.
Stahl is excited for people to come out and see all the hard work they have put into this performance.
“You should expect huge choral numbers, lively and impressive dance routines, incredible lighting and staging, a kids chorus and much more,” Stahl said. “We don’t want to give all the surprises the audience will see away just yet, though.”
Stahl elaborates on her feelings about the show and how it is much more than a simple performance for the participants.
“Festival of Christmas has a huge place in my heart,” Stahl said. “Christmas is my favorite time of year, and getting to sing Christmas songs alongside all of my closest friends is the very best way to enter the season.”
Performances will take place on Friday, Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 2 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at www.obu.edu/boxoffice or at the Jones Performing Arts Center Box Office weekdays from 1-5 p.m. for $12 each. Students can claim a free ticket using their student identification number.