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Chimes of Christmas to ring in holiday season

Members of the Singing Hoosiers rehearse for their Chimes of Christmas performance Dec. 3, 2015, at the IU Auditorium. The Grammy-nominated Singing Hoosiers will present “Chimes of Christmas” at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at the IU Auditorium. 

The Grammy-nominated Singing Hoosiers will present “Chimes of Christmas” at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at the IU Auditorium. 

The annual holiday-themed attraction features 84 members of the Singing Hoosiers, a Jacobs-based group directed by Chris Albanese and made up of 84 students.

​The show will include Christmas classics, Christmas carols, the "Christmas on Broadway Medley" and Hanukkah-themed songs such as “Funky Dreidl.”

As with years prior, the group will be joined by Hooshir, IU’s Jewish a capella group, the IU Horn Choir and the IU Children’s Choir. 

It will also feature a skit starring one of the singers dressed as Santa Claus interacting with the audience. 

The Singing Hoosiers have been rehearsing the show every weekday since October when their Fall Concert wrapped. 

“It been a little hectic, and I think we started off a little stressed, maybe worried that we wouldn’t get it done in time since it’s less time than past years,” Ella Clary, a senior majoring in environmental and sustainability studies said. “But we’ve actually come a long way with the amount of work we’ve had.”

While evening rehearsals in the week leading up to the concert can be long, lasting four at least 4 hours, Anna Bruggenschmidt, the Singing Hoosier’s administrative manager, said she looks  forward to the performance.

“It’s really the most rewarding part,” said Bruggenschmidt, a junior majoring in elementary education. “It takes a lot of perseverance to learn songs — especially the more difficult ones — and practice them over and over and get notes wrong, get words wrong. But when we reach this point it feels good to see the big picture.”

Clary joined Singing Hoosiers as a sophomore and said she’ll be sad to perform her last Christmas show with group. 

“It’s usually the sweet moments that make me tear up,” Clarysaid. 

Clary said her favorite pieces are “There's Still My Joy” and the show finale “White Christmas.”

Bruggenschmidt, meanwhile, said her favorite song was “In the Bleak Midwinter.”

“There’s something about the harmonies and the softness of the middle of this piece,” Bruggenschmidt said. “I tend to really enjoy some of the more choral pieces just because of how tender the harmonies can sound together.”

Like many students who join Singing Hoosiers, sophomore Alex Dlugosz, who majors in psychology, said he enjoyed theatre and choir in high school. When he got college, he wanted to find a way to continue being involved in music. He found his answer from a tweet posted by the group enticing interested singers to audition.  

“I can’t imagine college without being a part of this group,” Dlugosz said. 

Clary said the show is an excellent way an audience of all ages can get in the holiday spirit. 

“It’s kind of going back to the movie ‘Elf’: ‘the best way to spread Christmas cheer is to sing loud for all to hear,’” she said. “We’ve definitely got that at ‘Chimes,’ whether that be Christmas music, Hanukkah music or just some good-spirited, winter-feeling music that doesn’t even have to be holiday related.”

Dlugosz agreed that the show was a perfect was to kick off the holidays. 

“It’s just a positive atmosphere and a really welcoming one,” he said. “It’s a pretty good feeling to know I’m a part of creating that and giving that to people.”

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