Seymour High School choral students have the unique opportunity to spread Christmas holiday cheer to one and all next month.
The show choir will perform “God Bless Us Everyone,” a musical telling of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” with the Bloomington Chamber Singers on Saturday at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater in Bloomington.
Seymour choral director Kyle Karum said he is excited about being able to showcase his students’ talents and give them an entirely new music-learning experience.
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Karum is in his second year performing with the Chamber Singers and is helping to conduct the upcoming show with Gerald Sousa, the group’s music director.
“He (Sousa) was discussing options because they were restructuring how they do concerts,” Karum said. “They wanted to do Christmas in a new, fresh way and that’s how the idea came up for Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol.’”
Although his students are used to performing, Karum said they’ve never done a show quite like this.
“I describe it to them as a choral musical. It’s not a traditional choral concert, where we get up on the risers and just sing,” Karum said. “It incorporates multimedia with different images projected onto a screen and it’s going to include acting and props and sets.”
The show choir, which is made up of 39 male and female singers in grades 10 through 12, is rehearsing during class time at school and also will travel to Bloomington after Thanksgiving to rehearse with the Chamber Singers.
All together, there will be around 80 singers, plus a full orchestra, performing.
Karum said his students are excited but don’t really know what to expect when it comes to working with an adult choir. The level of difficulty in the music is pretty high, meaning the students are working really hard, he added.
The students first learned about the concert last spring and began preparing before their annual fall concert this year.
“I think there is some curiosity there with how it’s all going to come together and maybe some nerves too, but mainly everyone is excited and looking forward to it,” Karum said. “It takes a lot of focus and a lot of commitment.”
Junior Anna Bullard said she is glad to see Karum introducing the choir to new singing and performing opportunities.
“Last year, he (Karum) was getting his footing here and kind of figuring out what the tradition is, what we’re comfortable with, what he’s comfortable with, what the community is comfortable with,” Bullard said. “I think this is a really good chance for us to get outside of what’s normally been done and bring something new into the program.”
In his first year in show choir, sophomore Dillon Polley said it’s an honor to be involved in such a performance as “God Bless Us Everyone.”
“I think it’s a huge opportunity to show what we’ve done and how far we’ve come as a choir,” he said. “We’ve learned how to work together as a team, how to learn music and everyone wants to participate and everybody is equally excited for the event we’re doing.”
There will be two shows, one at 3 p.m. and another at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $20 for adults and $10 for children age 12 and younger. Tickets can be purchased in advance at chambersingers.info.
Most people are familiar with Dickens’ classic tale of the true meaning of Christmas told through the endearing characters of Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.
“God Bless Us Everyone,” offers a new way for families to experience the story through music.
The show is presented by actors reading the story, portraying the different characters. Throughout the production, the two choirs along with a full orchestra, will perform a variety of popular carols to help set the Christmas mood. There’s even a sing-along with the audience.
The songs have been arranged or written by famous King’s College Cambridge English composers such as John Rutter, David Willcocks and Bob Chilcott.
“They all have a particular kind of style in writing Christmas songs. There are a lot of Christmas songs and a lot of songs about winter time,” he said. “Our set goes a little off that beaten path and we’re doing a piece by Nicholas Myers and a piece by Greg Gilpen who is actually a composer from Indianapolis.”
One of the songs they will perform has been a little strange to learn because the only words are “ding a ding a ding,” Karum said.
“When you only have one section do their part, it sounds a little silly, but when you put it all together, it sounds like a bell choir,” he said. “It’s really fun to perform and to hear.”
Polley said learning the music has been a challenge because it’s new, but he’s impressed with the sound they are making together as a choir.
“We all sound really, really good,” he said. “It’s so impressive to work with this choir. I think we’re going to sound great at Bloomington.”
“It’s going to be bigger than I think even the musicals we’ve done here because you have to coordinate their choir, the orchestra and our choir,” Bullard added.
For those unable to attend “God Bless Us Everyone,” the SHS Show Choir will be performing their annual winter concert on Dec. 14. Two songs from the Bloomington show will be featured then too.
“It’s good exposure for us,” Bullard said. “We don’t compete in a lot of stuff and this is a good way to get us out there in the choir world to get us more experience with what we want to be.”
Karum said he hopes the opportunity has a lasting impact on students.
“I hope they get a sense of what it takes to put on a large production like this one and hope that they just improve as musicians and as people,” he said. “That they can learn for our December concert and here on out how to make really high level music and how to work professionally.”
What: Performance of “God Bless Us Everyone, a musical telling of Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol.”
Featuring: Seymour High School show choir with the Bloomington Chamber Singers
Conducted by: Gerry Sousa and Kyle R. Karum
Where: Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington
When: 3 and 7:30 p.m., Dec. 3
Admission: $20 for adults, $10 for children (12 and younger). Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.chambersingers.info/.