Chimes of Christmas combines tradition and innovation



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Members of the Singing Hoosiers rehearse for their Chimes of Christmas performance on Thursday evening at IU Auditorium. Qianyun Tong Buy Photos

Chimes of Christmas, an annual holiday concert put on by the Singing Hoosiers, has been a tradition at IU since the 1950s, Singing Hoosiers director Ly Wilder said.

The concert is at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the IU Auditorium.

Although it is tradition, Wilder said the show continues to change as they also try to appeal to people who look forward to the concert every year.

“We are excited to keep bringing that tradition back and continuing to innovate and evolve that tradition so that it speaks both to the most traditional holiday favorites and to the things that have a new spin on them, with some hip-hop and break-dancing,” Wilder said. “You get a little something for everyone.”

Wilder said this year’s concert includes a different setup on stage and more contemporary approaches to the music.

“The music every year is both familiar and different,” Wilder said. “We hope that, with the inclusion of some styles like world music, people are going to find that really refreshing and interesting.”

The Singing Hoosiers have been preparing for the concert since October and, although the process is challenging, the students have risen to the occasion, 
Wilder said.

Wilder said she wants the audience to leave feeling happier than they were when they came in, and she hopes the concert will inspire feelings of compassion and 
celebration.

“We hope it will encourage all of those best instincts about this time of the year.”

Wilder said Syncopation, a show choir in Bloomington with students from fifth to ninth grade, is an integral part of Chimes of Christmas.

“They just bring such a beautiful spirit and kind of a childlike innocence to remind us of the joy of the season,” Wilder said.

Sophomore Kylie Bruetman, a member of the Singing Hoosiers, said preparing for Chimes of Christmas has been an incredible 
experience.

Wilder is putting her own spin on the show in her first year as director, including changing aspects that needed improvement and spending time creating a well-designed stage and program, Bruetman said.

Chimes of Christmas also features many guest artists from both the Jacobs School of Music and outside of the University.

Bruetman said one of the best parts of being in the Singing Hoosiers is sharing the stage with renowned 
performers.

For example, Jeff Nelsen, professor of horn in the music school and has performed around the world, and Nina Nelsen, an opera singer who has premiered operas throughout the United States, will be in the program. The two musicians are also 
married.

“To have the privilege to be around that kind of talent and that kind of prestige ... I don’t know where else I would get that, especially as a non-music major,” Bruetman said. “It’s insane that I get to share a stage with those people.”

Tickets range from $12 to $17 for children and IU-Bloomington students with ID and from $17 to $22 for the general public. Tickets are for sale at the IU Auditorium box office or online at ticketmaster.com.

Bruetman said he has learned to adapt to different styles of music and flow quickly in and out of each style within one concert.

Wilder said the variety of styles appeals to Chimes of Christmas’ diverse 
audiences.

“I think we are going to see people in our audiences from the age of 3 to 93, and I hope that each person in our audience finds something that they can relate to and enjoy,” Wilder said. “There are a wide variety of styles in the program, and I’m just really excited to share all of the incredible talent that is in our backyard with our 
community.”

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