By Hannah Tarr
With Thanksgiving over, it is the most wonderful time of the year: the winter holidays. FC’s arts department is getting involved this year in raising holiday cheer, and this story is the first in a series previewing those events.
In past decades, it has become a tradition for cities to host a public event the night they turn on their holiday lights around the city. Crowds gather in a park to enjoy live holiday entertainment, and children jump and cheer at the season’s first sighting of Santa Claus. The same is true at New Albany’s annual event, Light Up #OurNA. Light Up #OurNA is special to FC not only because it is the most local Light Up event, closer than Light Up Louisville or Light Up Jeffersonville, but because some of the featured entertainment is FC’s own Accidentals choir.
“There are several reasons people should go Light Up New Albany, but the most important reason to go is to get involved and support your community. Also, it will be a ton of fun,” said junior Nick Landrum. “The program overall is filled with a lot of quality entertainment.”
Senior Haley Sieg, a self-proclaimed lover of anything involving music, hopes people will be drawn to the program by the variety and talent of music groups performing. She also notes the convenience of the event’s location: Bicentennial Park, where Light Up #OurNA is held, is on the corner of Spring Street and Pearl Street in the heart of downtown New Albany, so Sieg recommends getting some holiday shopping done and then coming to check it out.
Whatever the reason for attending, audiences are in store for a treat. “The Accidentals have been putting a lot of time and effort into this set to bring top notch entertainment to the people in attendance for this show,” said Landrum.
The 15 member a capella choir performed at the event last year, and it was such a success that the organizers invited them back. They have been rehearsing Monday afternoons to prepare for the big night– plus a three hour rehearsal last Saturday, which was like a pajama party. The Accidentals have four songs in their repertoire to perform and are excited to show them off.
“We’ve been spending a whole lot of time on what we’re doing, and I personally think that our songs are really good,” said junior Maddie Hankins. “We have some classics, like ‘Carol of the Bells,’ but then we also have modern bops like ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You,’ and ‘Up on the Housetop,’ the Pentatonix version. And I really think that it has something that everyone’s going to like.”
The performance is rounded out by the addition of sleigh bells and even choreography. Landrum says that all of this character really rounds out the performance.
“What I have personally learned from my preparations for this event is that in order to get the highest amount of energy from the audience, I really needed to get some movement in the pieces of music,” he said. “While it is entertaining to watch an ensemble of singers stand around and beautifully sing their songs, it is much more enjoyable when that group is moving to the music.”
While it is a lot of fun, it also requires a lot of skill and concentration from the performers. There is no conductor in front of the group while they are performing. And there are very few people on any given part, with “Up on the Housetop” even featuring solos from Hankins, Sieg, and other members of the choir.
“I’ve learned how to be independent,” said Hankins. “There’s only like 15 people, there’s only three second sopranos. Sometimes, I’m the only person singing a certain part. It’s that way for most of the people in the choir too, you have to hold your own very very well and be able to be confident.”
The unique style of the Accidentals’ music presents a learning opportunity for all of its members. This is Sieg’s first year in the choir, and it is unlike her previous experiences in other choirs at FC.
“I’ve learned a lot just about this more jazz/ pop style of singing,” said Sieg. “Additionally, I sing as a tenor in this choir, which uses a whole different part of my range than I am typically used to.”
The skill of the Accidentals combined with the beauty of the Light Up #OurNA experience makes for a truly memorable night. Consider bracing the cold this Saturday, Nov. 24 at 6:00 p.m. and come out to Bicentennial Park to spread some holiday warmth.