YSU offers sounds of the season

YOUNGSTOWN — Youngstown State University and its Dana School of Music will provide the sounds of the season with three holiday concerts this week.

Carols & Cocoa and the Dana Holiday Concert take place Wednesday at Stambaugh Auditorium. Musical theater students will perform a cabaret show called “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” on Friday at B&O Station and instrumentalists will gather at St. John Episcopal Church in Youngstown for Horns A Carolin’ on Saturday.

“In general it’s a time for coming together, and it’s even more so this year post-COVID,” Phyllis Paul, dean of the Cliffe College of Creative Arts, said. “It’s important to return to as many of these traditions as we can, especially around the holidays.”

That doesn’t mean the coronavirus still isn’t forcing some changes. YSU is limiting tickets to 500 for Carols & Cocoa and the Dana Holiday Concert to avoid overcrowding in Stambaugh’s ballroom, where the first half of the event takes place. There still will be cocoa, but they won’t be serving cookies this year, Paul said.

Masks will be required at all three venues.

l Carols & Cocoa and the Dana Holiday Concert

This annual event is two concerts in one. It starts with the carols performed in Stambaugh’s Jeanne D. Tyler Grand Ballroom by the Clarinet Ensemble, Flute Ensemble, YSU Trombone Ensemble, Stambaugh Chorus, Horn, Choir, Dana Chorale, Dana Chamber Vocal Ensembles and Voices of YSU.

The informal concert will conclude with an audience sing-along.

After a short intermission, the program moves to the main auditorium, which will feature music performed by the Dana Symphony Orchestra, Brass Quintet, Jazz Ensemble, Festival Symphonic Choir and the Dana Symphony Orchestra (and its brass and string sections).

A performance of Vivaldi’s “Gloria” will feature soprano soloists Brianne Samson and Marlina Karimi, and Kathryn Davison Miller will close the concert with an organ piece by Garth Edmundson.

“In some cases, they have been working on these pieces throughout the semester, especially the Vivaldi,” Paul said. “You will get to hear them at their finest.”

The Lakeview High School Madrigal Singers, directed by 2009 Dana graduate Megan Mullins; the Avonworth (Pa.) High School, directed by Joseph Bandi; and the Stambaugh Chorus are guest performers.

“The high school choirs get to perform in a space as magnificent as Stambaugh and get the whole grand experience of singing with this massive choral group on stage accompanied by an orchestra,” Paul said.

l Musical Theatre Cabaret: “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

The cabaret show also takes place off campus, at B&O Station, a decision driven by the need for a venue where they could create a true cabaret experience at a place where pub food and drinks would be available for purchase.

“I think this is their second time there, and it was a wonderful experience,” Paul said. “It sold out the last time, and that space works very well for it.”

Coordinated by Maria Fenty Denison, program coordinator of musical theater, the evening will include jazz, country and delta blues holiday-themed music.

Students performing for the cabaret are Rue Deja, Ambridge, Pa.; Adam Dominick, Lancaster; Belle Elliott, Indian Lake; Lacey Farina, Schenectady, N.Y.; Samantha Gurd, Poland; Nathanael Montgomery, Columbiana; Meredith Pallo, Sharpsville, Pa.; Mitchell Sharp, Beloit; Destinee Thompson, Akron; and Elise Vargo, Westerville.

l Horns A Carolin’

The Dana Horn Studio, directed by Sean Yancer, returns to live performance this year, and recording the holiday concert last year at St. John Episcopal Church for a recorded event.

“The church has magnificent acoustics,” Paul said. “It’s one thing listening to a recording. It will be another thing to sit there and be surrounded by the sound.”

Members of the horn studio will perform traditional seasonal tunes, and horn players of all skill levels are invited to bring their instruments and participate in the concert.



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