Thomas Nelson’s performing arts department has billed its winter concert “Sing for Joy!” Diane Drury, a professor in the music department who is overseeing the event, said there are numerous reasons why.
First, “Sing for Joy” is among pieces the College choir will perform. Second, it’s a joyous time of the year. Third, and perhaps most important, it tells the College community performing arts is ready to return to live shows.
“It’s a celebration of in-person performances again at Thomas Nelson,” said Drury, who noted the Dec. 7 event is the College’s first live performance since fall 2019.
Before the pandemic, the department presented 6a live performance at the end of every semester.
“We would have a recital of all the applied music students,” Drury said. "We’d have flutists, guitarists, singers, (and) pianists.”
Free and open to the public, this year’s concert is set for 7 p.m. at First United Church of Christ at 1017 Todds Lane in Hampton. Masks are required (the performers also will be wearing masks).
The event will feature music by Handel, Vivaldi, Haydn as well as Duke Ellington. Two Christmas carols are also part of the program.
“They’re not very long pieces, but a real wide variety,” Drury said. “Everything from South African freedom songs to a movement from a Haydn mass to a ‘Silent Night’ arrangement in German and English to two big band pieces.”
With the Mary T. Christian Auditorium being renovated after a portion of Templin Hall's roof collapsed in April, performing arts students have been using the Espada room in Moore Hall and Room 158 in Diggs Hall.
“People need to know all these performing arts classes are going on,” said Drury, who added two applied piano students are performing. “We’ve been having in-person piano lessons on campus, too.”
Drury said the emphasis for the concert is on ensemble.
“The chorus ensemble will have five singers in it, five very good singers, very musically skilled, experienced singers,” she said. “We are singing a cappella stuff. We are singing some challenging pieces.”
The concert will include 11 pieces, most about two or three minutes long. The concert will last no more than 50 minutes, and there is no intermission.
“They’re very excited to be singing in person,” Drury said of the performers.
Since the pandemic, the College has held virtual concerts, but those are difficult for the performers.
“They couldn’t hear other singers around them,” Drury said. “It was really a daunting thing, but because they did that, their voices have improved. They’ve really grown as singers because of that experience.”
She is overjoyed to be making music again, and has a message:
“The performing arts is alive and kicking, and in-person.”
Learn more about the College's performing arts offerings as well as other academic and workforce development programs at tncc.edu.