Inside WinterSongs

Heartland Youth Choir will present its WinterSongs concert on Sunday, December 9, at 4:30 p.m. at Sheslow Auditorium on Drake University campus. All six of our choral ensembles will perform during a program that features 17 holiday songs from around the world.

We asked our conductors to provide some background on a few of the WinterSongs selections:

Canto: Eve Thomas, Conductor

Canto is singing “Star Light Medley” because it aligns with concepts the singers are learning in rehearsals. We started learning the piece by clapping and counting the rhythms and reading sol, la, and mi solfege syllables from the music staff. “Star Light Medley” ends with a beautiful message for peace throughout the world.  

Cantilena: Eve Thomas, Conductor

“On this Still, Silent Night,” combines two Christmas songs together. Both carols, “Still, Still, Still” and “Silent Night,” originated in present-day Austria in the 19th century. This arrangement gives Cantilena an opportunity to work on connecting each phrase with legato (smooth) singing.  

Chante: Sandy Miller, Conductor

Chante is singing “Hava Nashira (Come Let Us Sing Praise to the Lord)” because of its complex canon. This piece has long fluid phrases. At the beginning of the year, we concentrated our warm-ups on breathing and breath control. This piece allows our singers to experience the technique in a song. Although this is a canon, it is more complex than “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” Singers experience harmonies that are not quite so traditional, making them better musicians.

Cantemus: Sandy Miller, Conductor

Cantemus is singing “S’Vivon,” a Hebrew song about Hanukkah, because of its interesting harmonies. This song has been challenging with the quick changes of music styles throughout.
It pushes our students to be independent in their singing parts.

Chamber: Jim Cacciatore, Conductor

“Psallite” by Michael Praetorius was originally published in the year 1609 and is sung in both Latin and German. It is a Christmas text with the following rough translation:

Sing psalms to the only begotten Son of God,

The Lord Redeemer, child, lying in a crib.

A little child who lay in a manger

All the dear angels pay him homage and sing beautifully to him.

Finale: Artistic Director Sandy Miller

The last song of the concert is entitled “All Is Well.” I picked this song for two reasons: One, it is the 200th anniversary of the writing of “Silent Night,” and this song is included in the piece. Second, I wanted the audience and singers to have the message as they leave the concert. Life may be hectic and the journeys we take will have ups and downs, but ultimately, all will be well.


Join us December 9 at 4:30 p.m. to hear these songs and much more! Tickets will be available for purchase at the door — $15 for adults, and $7 for students and seniors citizens.

Posted on December 8, 2018 .