Christmas Concert 2017

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Christmas Concert 2017

Youth choir brings ‘Christmas Joy’

FAIRFIELD—It was a night of beautiful song, prayer and Christmas joy as the 100-member Diocesan Youth Choir performed its Arise and Shine Christmas Concert at the Quick Center of Fairfield University.

More than 550 people filled the theater for the third and most accomplished Christmas concert under the direction of Mary Bozzuti-Higgins of Wilton.

“Based on the sound of the applause, I think it’s fair to say that you enjoyed the concert as much as I did,” said Bishop Caggiano after the audience responded with a prolonged standing ovation when the choir finished “Dark is the Silent Night,” the final song of the evening.

The program included Diocesan Youth Choir favorites such as Arise and Shine, Go Tell It On The Mountain, and Avanza Navidad.

It also introduced a new Calypso Lullaby led by guest singer Adrienne Reedy, who brought the house down with her version of “Sing With The Angels.”

The young singers connected with “Let their be Peace on Earth,” and “Believe,” with its pop-like arrangement by liturgical musician Clay Zambo, the accompanist for the choir.

Choir staples such as Gaudete, Festival Sanctus, and Siyahamba produced a joyful effect, particularly when percussionist Don O’Keefe traversed the stage while setting the beat for the traditional Zulu hymn.

The choir delivered a memorable performance of O Holy Night, which included its first brief solo a member, alto Edwin Gregory.

The audience joined in a spirited version of Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and was enlisted to sing the traditional version of “Silent Night,” while the choir sang the more complex part of the “Dark is the Silent Night.”

Mary Bozzuti-Higgins weaved all the voices together in a beautiful finale that faded to black with each choir member holding small candles before the applause erupted.

“I have great gratitude for this remarkable evening together,” said the bishop. “One hundred young singers have given us the gift of song and of their generosity and faith. They have taught us the real meaning of Christmas: the gift of an encounter with God who took flesh and was born to the Virgin Mary. Tonight you have helped us encounter the Lord Jesus.”

In his introduction to the evening, Patrick Donovan director of new Leadership Institute, noted that choir members range in age from 6th Graders to Juniors in College. He thanked young people for their willingness to participate and parents for making the sacrifice to bring them to rehearsals.

The youth choir roared with delight when Mary Bozzuti-Higgins was presented with flowers at the end of the concert. The bishop told the audience that when he first had the idea to create the choir he prayed to the Blessed Mother and she sent him “an angel” in Mary Bozzuti.

He praised the choir director for the “passion and faith she brings to her work and her guidance of young people through music. I am grateful for the great gift she is to all of your and to the diocese”

Readings were delivered in Vietnames, Ukranian, Spanish, and English by Maria Nguyen, Anastasiya Pshyk, Jacquie Tessier, Teah Renzi and Matthew Villanueva.

Capably supporting the choir were professional musicians piano accompanist Clay Zambo; Flute, Dr. Jessica Raposo; Oboe, Dr. Ralph Kirmser; Trumpet, Nicholas Loafman; and Percussion, Don O’Keefe.

Photos by Amy Mortensen