SPU Pre Med Program
Always sold out, the event is looked forward to by SPU student singers and musicians, and their faculty directors ­— as well as by the city of Seattle. See the Benaroya Photography Gallery. Photos by Mike Siegel.
Benaroya: On Stage
A student violinist describes the magic of SPU’s downtown Christmas Concert
It’s 3:40 p.m. More than 200 Seattle Pacific University students have gathered along with their directors and President Philip Eaton backstage in Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. The room is hushed.
David Anderson, director of choral studies, stands above the crowd to offer his final words of encouragement, followed by President Eaton’s prayer. The orchestra gets its cue, and soon we find ourselves filling the stage. A single violin plays a captivating melody, and the choirs enter the hall singing, “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus.” “The Sacred Sounds of Christmas” for 2007 has begun.
This is not your average Christmas concert, but an opportunity to present the Advent story in a unique and unforgettable way. The SPU Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, Men’s Choir, and Women’s Choir sing music in English and Latin spanning several centuries of faith. Staff, faculty, students, and alums join to recite Scripture and other Advent texts. The Wind Symphony and String Orchestra play celebratory pieces of the Christmas season. Even the audience is invited to join in singing Advent carols.
As a high point in the program, all of the ensembles join together for the Hallelujah Chorus from Beethoven’s "Mount of Olives." Together, we present God’s promise of a Savior and the fulfillment of that promise in the coming of the Christ Child.
Besides the music, there is a sense of excitement and enthusiasm that comes just from playing in Benaroya Hall. With striking architecture and decor, a magnificent pipe-organ, and spectacular acoustics, this is one of the country’s premier concert halls. It’s a privilege to perform at Benaroya. Both Seattle and the SPU community anticipate this concert year after year.
“This is not your average Christmas concert, but an opportunity to present the Advent story in a unique and unforgettable way.”
—Alyssa Fridenmaker
The quality of musicianship also makes The Sacred Sounds of Christmas concert unique. Nearly all of SPU’s musicians have the opportunity to gather on one stage for the purpose of creating music together, and, for me, this is one of the most exciting parts of the program. As a violinist, I certainly have friends in performance groups other than the String Orchestra, but it’s rare for me to be able to join with them in music- making. In the case of Sacred Sounds, I look forward not only to the actual performance, but also to the entire day spent with one another, from rehearsing to sharing a meal to playing games during our down time.
During SPU’s rigorous process of counseling and advising would-be doctors and other health care professionals, students consider carefully whether they really have the guts, the gumption, and the dedication to endure. What distinguishes students who are up to the challenge? “They understand that they need to stay focused on their goals, dig in, and work hard,” says Fitch. “They almost have to put earplugs in and shut out those who tell them, ‘You’re not going to make it.’”
It’s a beautiful representation of the body of Christ — many diverse individuals coming together to create a unified whole. I look forward to experiencing it as an alum in the audience next year!
For an inside look at the Sacred Sounds Christmas Concert, see our Benaroya Photography Gallery.
By Alyssa Fridenmaker
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