Holiday concert brings cheer

Trish Peterson

Santa Claus made a surprise appearance at the Washburn holiday percussion concert last Sunday Dec. 5, in White Concert Hall.

Santa joined the group for their last song, “Sleigh Ride,” and handed candy out to the audience.

Tom Morgan, associate professor of music, directed the concert and also arranged some of the pieces played.

Morgan wanted to perform some parts of “The Nutcracker,” but found there was not much out there for percussionists, so he took up the purpose of writing something appropriate. The result was a beautiful rendition of “Dance do La Fee Dragee,” “Tempo di Marcia viva” and “Trepac” all three from “The Nutcracker” suite.

“Because the concert is at the beginning of December it is a good way to jumpstart your Christmas spirit,” said Morgan. “It will be hard to leave this concert without being in the Christmas spirit.”

The Washburn Singers made a special guest appearance also for, “Do You Hear What I Hear?” written by Gloria Shayne Baker and arranged by Morgan.

The song was written as a plea for peace during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, and Bing Crosby redid it in 1963 which then it became very popular.

Kevin Kellim, professor of music, directed the Washburn Singers in a beautiful performance with the Washburn percussion ensemble.  Taryn Doty, soloist, performed, with the Washburn Singers as back up.

“I liked [The Washburn Singers] a lot,” said Kelsey Cooke Junior percussion performance major. “They add different texture, a Latin feel with a pop voice, with rhythmic additions by the vocals.”

Morgan also included in his set list a few songs by his former professors at the University of Oklahoma, Richard C. Gipson and James Faulconer.

The song “Christmas Medley” was originally written by Faulconer then arranged by Gipson.  This song included many different Christmas songs collaborated into one lovely song. Two distinct songs included were “Joy to the World” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

A quartet from the percussion ensemble stepped up and performed two songs, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Deck The Halls.”

Among the other songs performed were “Fum Fum Fum” by Mark Wilberg arranged by Richard C. Gipson.  “Fum” is to be pronounced “FOOM” to imitate the sound of the strumming of string instruments in Spain and Italy, originating around the 1700s.  “Joy to the World” a traditional song with an added up beat, rock sound to it.  “O Holy Night” written by Adolphe Charles Adams arranged by Richard C. Gipson which was originally a poem by a wine salesman in December 1847. The poem was then put to music by Adams. The song was first broadcast on the radio on Dec. 24, 1905, which means it was one of the first pieces of music to be played on the radio.

If you missed the concert on Sunday, there is another chance to hear the Washburn Percussion Ensemble play at this year’s holiday vespers concert. The concert will be at 3 p.m., Dec. 12 at White Concert Hall and will be broadcast on KTWU Channel 11 Sunday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. The percussion ensemble will be performing in the lobby prior to the show.  The concert is free to the public but people are asked to get a ticket to make sure everyone has a seat.

With students working hard this semester and finals coming up  Morgan expressed his thanks to their hard work, and dedication to putting on a great holiday concert.

“It is a great privilege to me to be able to wake up and come to help the young men and woman [in the percussion ensemble],” said Morgan.  “There is something about Christmas music and percussion that just works for me.”