Candles and Carols lights up the night

Tue, 2008-12-02 10:24 -- univcomm
December 2, 2008

When members of the Anderson University Wind Ensemble gather to practice for the annual “Candles and Carols” concert, they are reminded many times about one element of their performance: Being on TV.

“We spend a lot of time talking about that experience,” said Susan Taylor, director of bands at Anderson University.

The show, which will be held Friday and broadcast during December on PBS stations, requires each of the performing groups to be ready for their close-ups. As they perform, cameras swoop around the stage.

So, directors such as Taylor remind student musicians about the added element.

“They’re not accustomed to having cameras rolling and the cameras are actually on stage. They can literally move up right next to you as you play,” said Taylor.

Freshmen may never have experienced the art of playing an instrument with a camera a few feet away. So Taylor tries to calm any jitters.

She also mentions that cameramen and TV directors tend to focus on tubas, trumpets, French horns and the like — because colored holiday lights reflect nicely off those instruments.

“And if they have any kind of solo, they’re almost assured that they’re going to be on the camera. We prepare them for that so they aren’t startled if someone literally walks up and has a camera right beside their face,” Taylor said.

Some musicians have become accustomed to the camera lens.

“In the back of your mind, you know it’s going to be broadcast on TV so that changes things a little bit,” said Stephen Ragsdale, of Anderson and a junior who plays alto sax in the Wind Ensemble.

The real thrill, however, may be in performing for an eager audience.

“Just the fact you know you’re playing for a large audience, that’s exciting and makes you a little bit nervous. But a lot of times, that helps you play better,” said Ragsdale who is a marketing major.

Candles and Carols” is perhaps the most anticipated event of the season by the Anderson University School of Music.

More than 250 AU students from the School of Music will participate during the service, including the Chamber Orchestra, Chorale and Men’s Choir, directed by Richard Sowers; the Women’s Chorus, directed by Joani Brandon; the Wind Ensemble, directed by Susan Taylor; and the Dance Ensemble, choreographed by Melodie Carr.

“It is a pleasure for us to give this gift to the Anderson community which faithfully supports us each year,” said Jeffrey Wright, dean of the Anderson University College of the Arts, in a news release.

“Although it is only a small token of appreciation, I know the heart of the holiday season will be unmistakably evident through the music, Scripture readings, and those in our community who unite with one another in spirit and in song,” Wright said.

The audience participates through congregational singing and the candle lighting ceremony at the conclusion of the evening.

Anderson University’s Covenant Productions® will tape and distribute the event to television stations nationwide. The program will air through December on stations affiliated with PBS stations, independent regional networks and national affiliates.

Covenant Productions® will also produce a DVD and CD of the program. DVDs are $16 each and CDs are $12 each. An order form is available online or may be ordered by calling the School of Music at (765) 641-4450.

If you go:

“Candles and Carols” Christmas concert

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5

Where: Reardon Auditorium, Anderson University

Admission: Free with general seating. DVDs will be sold for $16 each; CDs for $12 each. An order form is available online or may be ordered by calling the School of Music at (765) 641-4450.

—From the Herald Bulletin in Anderson. Story republished with permission.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,750 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.