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Singers in front of holiday tree

YVC singers partner with local ensembles

YVC singers join Yakima Symphony Chorus and Orchestra for holiday concert

During this past holiday season, Yakima Valley College choir members joined in one of the region’s most beloved traditions of the season, the Yakima Symphony Chorus and Orchestra’s annual Holiday Pops Spectacular at the historic Capitol Theatre.

For the college’s singers, it was an ideal opportunity to experience a performance as part of a large ensemble combining choristers and instrumentalists.

“With a small choir of 10 singers, I wanted to give our students an opportunity to sing with a larger choir and full orchestra,” said Steven Slusher, YVC director of choral activities. “This was the first time performing with such an ensemble in the beautiful Capitol Theatre for many of our singers.”

Rehearsals spanned several weeks of fall quarter, first with just the YVC singers, then combined with the Yakima Symphony Chorus (YSC) and finally with the orchestra.

YVC student Drake Chandler appreciated his first opportunity to perform in concert with an orchestra.

“The part that stood out to me most was the rehearsals before the concert,” Chandler said. “The YVC choir, the symphony choir and the orchestra had all been practicing and learning the music separately, so to finally put all the pieces together and hear the music for the first time as the audience would hear it during the concert was awesome.”

“Performing with the Yakima Symphony [Orchestra] and Yakima Symphony Chorus stood out from any other performances that I’ve done throughout my choral career.” — Abigail Stowell

Fellow choir member Abigail Stowell noted that singing in a large performance hall with a full orchestra places different demands on singers.

“You have to work harder on the sounds that come out of your mouth to make sure the audience can hear you without overdoing it,” Stowell said. “Performing with the Yakima Symphony [Orchestra] and YSC stood out from any other performances that I’ve done throughout my choral career. The progress we made as a choral ensemble was just amazing.”

The Holiday Pops Spectacular on December 4 featured a wide range of holiday classics, including the “Hellelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah, the Spanish Christmas carol “Gatatumba,” “We Are Lights: The Chanukah Song” and a medley of other holiday favorites. Immediately following the concert, the city of Yakima held its annual Holiday Lighted Parade followed by the lighting of a community tree in Millennium Plaza.

Choir and string instrument musicians.
Members of the YVC Choir and Canticus in a group photo taken before their March 5 concert.

During winter quarter, the YVC Choir also joined Canticus Vocal Ensemble for a March 5 concert ushering in spring, providing yet another opportunity to experience singing as part of a larger, well-regarded ensemble.

“YVC students should know that our choirs are a wonderful place to gain experience with a variety of performance opportunities, and we always have a place for anyone with an interest in singing,” Slusher said.