Boardman High School Choral performs at Stambaugh Holiday Concert


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Neighbors | Tim Cleveland.Hae-Jong Lee took a break from rehearsing before conducting the Carols and Cocoa Holiday Concert at Stambaugh Auditorium.

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Neighbors | Tim Cleveland.The 15-member Dana Trombone Ensemble from the Dana School of Music warmed up before the start of the Carols and Cocoa Holiday Concert at Stambaugh Auditorium.

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Neighbors | Tim Cleveland.A crowd of approximately 1,000 people gathered at Stambaugh Auditorium for the Carols and Cocoa Holiday Concert.

By TIM CLEVELAND

tcleveland@vindy.com

Stambaugh Auditorium hosted a Carols and Cocoa Dana Holiday Concert on Dec. 3, which featured performers from the Dana School of Music, Youngstown State University, the Stambaugh Chorus, and invited to perform this year, the 22-member Boardman High School Choral, directed by Linda Smrek.

Most of the concert was conducted by Dr. Hae-Jong Lee, who is the Director of Choral Activities at Youngstown State University, is an Associate Professor at the Dana School of Music and directs the Stambaugh Chorus.

“I try to rotate, but around here, there are some outstanding programs,” Lee said. “Boardman High School, they have a good choral program, a good teacher and they have good energy. They are willing to upgrade their performance in this kind of special venue.

“We had to connect with the Boardman High School teacher, Mrs. Smrek, and then she was willing to bring her choral.”

Smrek, who has been teaching Boardman’s choral for the past four years, said the whole experience went well for the school.

“We were very excited [to be invited to sing],” she said. “We received many compliments from parents about how excited they were.

“I think they did a wonderful job. On Wednesday [Dec. 10] we’ll be doing it for our house audience,” Smrek said of Boardman’s holiday concert at the school’s Performing Arts Center.

The Carols and Cocoa Dana Holiday Concerts have been performed for more than 30 years. For the past 11 years, the format has had the concert split between Stambaugh Auditorium’s Ball and the Main Concert Hall.

“I initiated it,” Lee said of the format change. “We had a faculty meeting and the director asked if I could create some special events. I suggested to change our present cocoa format. It used to be a small, informal concert. The students prepared cookies and cocoa and shared it with the audience. That was the tradition for a long time.”

The new format allows them to do the traditional format in the ballroom, then go upstairs to the Main Concert Hall for the rest of the expanded show. The Main Concert Hall is larger allows them to invite more ensembles.

There were more than 200 performers putting on the show for approximately 1,000 people. The 2 1/2-hour concert began in the first hour in the Ballroom and featured songs such as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Frosty the Snow Man” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” After moving upstairs to the Main Concert Hall, the songs included “Jingle Bells,” “Nutcracker Suite No. 1” and “O Come, All Ye Faithful.”

The Boardman Chorale performed “Cantate,” “Psallite,” “The Little Drummer Boy” and “Deck The Halls” during this portion of the program.

The concert concluded with Dr. Lee leading the Dana Symphonic Choir and Stambaugh Chorus in performing G.F. Handel’s “Messiah.”

Lee said “Messiah” is a part of his teaching curriculum at the Dana School of Music and his students spent more than a month practicing it.

“I think they will do great,” he said before the concert. “They did a good job during dress rehearsal.”

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