NORFOLK, Neb. – Similar to many other events this year, Northeast Community College’s annual holiday concert will be held in a virtual format this year. The College/Community Concert Band, Northeast Jazz Machine and Northeast Concert Choir will take the stage in the performance that was filmed recently on the Northeast campus in Norfolk.
Northeast music instructors teamed with the College’s audio recording technology program to put this year’s program together.
Kevin McLouth, director of instrumental activities, said making music this semester at Northeast was quite a challenge, but through a little trial and error and a little luck, they have been able to keep music alive on campus.
“On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss” is an arrangement for the concert band's “It is Well with My Soul,” he said. “I felt that the lyrics really captured this moment in time as they proclaim, “When sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.”
McLouth said every member of the College/Community Concert Band recorded their parts completely on their own.
“Audio recording technology student Joshua Spenner put all of the recordings together and mixed the sound while Timothy Miller (audio recording instructor) put all of the animations together. I am deeply indebted to these gentlemen for their endeavors.”
In addition to “Hymnsong of Philip Bliss,” the band plays the Karl King march “Alamo.”
Members of the Community/College Concert Band include:
Flute: Carrie Jensen, Norfolk; Annika Johansen, Pierce; Hannah Maslonka, Battle Creek.
Oboe: Brooke Painter, Norfolk.
Bassoon: Melora Hirschman, Norfolk; Zaidya Hirschman, Columbus.
Clarinet: Dani Beyer, Neligh; Karen Goetsch, Norfolk; Danny Gubbels, Norfolk; Sue Sieler, Norfolk.
Bass Clarinet: Nathaniel Ruhrer, Ponca.
Tenor Sax: Tory Stevens, Creighton.
Baritone Sax: Ryan Ginn, Norfolk.
Trumpet: Sarah Harrod, Norfolk; Curtis Stevens, Creighton; Les Swanson, Norfolk; Becca Theis, Vermillion, SD; Hannah Vokoun, Chelsea, IA; Becky Walter, Norfolk.
Horn: Mason Cone, Nickerson; Bryon Hirschman, Norfolk; Kitra Hirschman, Norfolk; Christopher Laursen, O'Neill; Zia Moore, Neligh.
Trombone: Randy Neuharth, Norfolk.
Euphonium: Zayne Ruden, Norfolk; Riley Montoya, Newman Grove.
Tuba: Seth Rivest, Battle Creek.
Percussion: Hunter Celesky, Wahoo; Jeremy von Lau, Creighton.
The Northeast Jazz Machine did meet in small groups to rehearse and also performed in the audio recording studios in small groups where Miller and Spenner produced the recordings.
The Jazz Machine performs “Felling the Funk,” “A Warm Fuzzy,” and “The Groove Broker.”
Members of the Northeast Jazz Machine include:
Saxophones: Dani Beyer, Neligh; Ashlyn Hamilton, Verdigre; Nathaniel Ruhrer, Ponca; Danny Gubbels, Norfolk.
Trumpets: Guillermo Mendez, Norfolk; Christopher Laursen, O’Neill.
Trombones: Levi Suing, Crofton; Zayne Ruden, Norfolk.
Rhythm Section: Malcolm Opoku, Lincoln; Micah Judds, Ashland; Ethan McCorkle-Deiken, Lincoln; Hunter Celesky, Wahoo.
Stewart Cramer, director of vocal activities at Northeast, said this year’s choir Home for the Holidays concert takes the listener on a journey of the heart, home, and healing.
“Each piece represents a different part of our journey; a few of the ensemble members also wrote and read personal experiences that they have had during COVID-19,” Cramer said. “By telling our stories of the pandemic, we hope that our music will be the perfect gift for the Holiday season!”
Choir performers said this year has been like no other and they appreciate the efforts instructors took to ensure their education and performance opportunities continued on track.
“Dedication to choir this year came from my love of choir and the environment around me. Even with COVID-19, we never struggled to do our best,” said Madison Burns, Pender. “Choir was a way to relax with all of the chaos going on.”
David McCaffrey, Norfolk, said, “The instructor handled the new procedures very well. It was a cautious, but fun environment. It was a class which pushed us to be our best.
“Choir for me this year was definitely a different experience, however, it really helped me stay positive during these negative times in the world,” said Hannah Vokoun, Chelsea, Iowa. “I have been involved in music my whole life, so I am so grateful Mr. Cramer worked so hard to make everything seem like it was almost normal. Although we were all 10 feet apart and had masks on covering up our smiling faces and even muffling our voices a bit, it still felt like the college choir I love and enjoy.”
During the virtual concert, the choir will perform “Beautiful Nebraska,” arranged by Cramer; “How Long?” from Taxi Cabaret, arranged by Peter Mills; “Someone Like Me,” by Atomic Kitten; “What About Us,” by P!nk; “Where Are You Christmas?,” arranged by Mac Huff; “Dominus Vobiscum,” by Jacob Narverud; and ”Shine Like Stars,” by Pink Zebra.
Kathleen Angeroth assisted with musical preparation.
Choir members include:
Bellwood - Nolan Whitney.
Crofton - Taylor Arens.
Chelsea, Iowa - Hannah Vokoun.
Fremont - Emmy Hollingsworth.
Hartington - Cece Ponce.
Madison - Grace Sendgraff.
Norfolk - Drake Boyle, David McCaffrey.
Omaha - Gracie Ethofer.
Pender - Madison Burns, Shelby Laird.
Stanton - Haylea Schmidt.
Valparaiso - Jenna Masek.
Northeast Community College’s Holiday Concert may be viewed on the College's YouTube channel.
The instrumental concert may be viewed here.
The choir concert is available here.