February 27, 2024

The California Baptist University Sollege of Music will hold its performance extravaganza JOY! on Dec. 12-13 at the CBU events center.

The event will consist of the three areas of the music department: music education and performance, worship arts and ministry and commercial music. Each is in charge of its own piece of the JOY! puzzle in terms of design and accompaniment. For the commercial portion, Bruce Sledge is contributing. Sledge has performed at the Metropolitan Opera and on  various international stages. On the worship side, Nia Allen, a gospel singer who has topped the gospel music charts is a guest artist. Other notable names include Sheila E, Nathan East, Paul Jackson Jr. and Vinnie Colaiuta. As far as ensembles go, the event will feature the Festival Choir (all choirs combined), the Orchestra (symphony orchestra, University Choir orchestra and the wind ensemble combined), Camerata (top choral arts ensemble), the jazz ensemble and individual ensemble performances.

Gene Peterson, director of choral and vocal studies and professor of music, spoke on the broad spectrum of music pieces being performed by the numerous ensembles, as well as a combination feature by Nia Allen.

“This year we have a real wide range, from more classic Christmas sacred music to the women of all of the combined sopranos and altos of the choirs, with the jazz band doing ‘Jingle Bells’,” Peterson said. “We have Nia Allen combining with the University Choir to do Whitney Houston’s ‘Joy to the World’ from ‘A Preacher’s Wife’. So there’s just a real wide range of music.”

Peterson also touched on the theme of this year’s topic of joy. He emphasized the joyful aspects of being together again due to lighter COVID-19 restrictions, as well as Jesus being the reason for the season.

“That’s the perfect kind of theme coming out of COVID and, of course, being able to just celebrate the reason for joy,” Peterson said. “Also, (we want) to make it very accessible and to show off a lot of different elements of what is happening at the school of music.”

Calah McGraw, sophomore vocal performance major, said she is excited for the sense of community in the event and bringing everyone together with love and music.

“We are a community and we connect in different ways,” McGraw said. “The music department wants to be able to extend our gifts to the campus and it’s important that we can come together for a season of giving and receiving.”

Lindsay Payment, sophomore music education major, is performing with the festival choir. She highlighted her excitement to be able to perform with the entire school of music in one special event.

“I’m most excited to perform with everyone involved in the School of Music,” Payment said. “This is the one time a year where we all get to sing and play together as a whole.”

Tickets, as well as the full lineup for the event, can be found at www.music.calbaptist.edu/a-cbu-christmas/.com.

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