By Shonda Ellsberry
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – The Camden County College Choir performed its Holiday Concert at the Dennis Flyer Theater on Dec. 8.
It was a silent night, all was calm and at 7:36 p.m. the lights were dimmed. CCC Music Professor Michael Billingsley closed the doors and the 22-member ensemble opened with its first song, “Sleigh Ride,” under Choir Director Janine Diaz Whitt.
The 51-minute concert ran smoothly. In the audience, family members, friends and supporters sat sporadically throughout the theater. About 60 people attended, including composer Frank James Staneck of Collingswood. He composed one of the nine songs sung at the concert. It is titled “Snow Song” and has been performed in Europe and Asia by other renowned choirs.
The event marked the first college choir experience for choir member Mark Hunter. “I enjoyed the excitement we all felt when we were singing,” Hunter said.
Hunter, 20, said the choir practiced once a week for the concert. He is a music major at Camden County College. He is undecided about what he wants to do but will continue to take classes in the field.
The 13-to-9 ratio of men to women was evident as the men sang and swayed to the harmony of the songs, bringing animation with the sound.
Every choir member participated in a version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” that brought laughter and looks of bewilderment from the crowd. In unison, the choir members sang the traditional song as most may know it until the line “Five golden rings.” Following was the eighth day, then the seventh day, leading to a rendition of familiar holiday songs sung in such a manner it was humorous and they managed to stay in harmony.
Camden County College student Maddie Crones, her mother, Kelly, and father, Tom, were in the house supporting choir member, Jee Vang, Maddie’s boyfriend. He had a solo “outburst” during “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” bringing the song to a unified ending.
The Crones said it was their first time out to an event held at Camden County College. “It was fun, we had a good time,” said Kelly Crones.
Other highlights of the evening included a performance of “This Little Babe” by the women only. They sang it in a range some choir members said was hard because of the high notes and they sang it in rounds. The men sang “Holly Jolly Christmas” doo-wop style. The evening ended on a high note with the song “Hallelujah.” Whitt invited everyone to join in singing the song.