Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

‘Hilaritas’ brings singing and jazz to UA

Tuning through the radio stations, one can hear holiday music taking over the airwaves. Music that has been saved throughout the year is pulled off the shelves and played continuously, bringing with it a sense of “holiday cheer.”

This Friday and Sunday, the University of Alabama University Singers and Jazz Ensemble are teaming up to bring holiday cheer to the community. In their annual performance of “Hilaritas,” almost 100 students will take the stage performing holiday classics as well as modern arrangements.

The two performances are tonight at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. in Moody Concert Hall. Tickets prices range by section and are $8 or $12 for the general public and $4 or $6 for students, seniors and children.

The tradition began in 1969, when the University Singers and Jazz Ensemble first performed together in the holiday celebration. Years later, the traditions of the original groups still stand, yet, with each year, there is always something new to be expected.

Christopher Kozak, director of jazz studies, said one tradition in particular has become a favorite of the “Hilaritas” performance.

“As long as I’ve known, it’s been tradition for the students to dress up in holiday attire,” Kozak said. “And I’ve seen everything. From tuxedos to pajamas, people really get into it.”

Briana Carrasquillo, a junior majoring in jazz studies, has been performing in “Hilaritas” since she was a freshman and said the attire for “Hilaritas” makes it more fun than the average concert.

“‘Hilaritas’ is unlike most all other concerts in the School of Music because it is more commercial, light and features a lot of popular music,” she said. “So to match that spirit, we dress in Christmas outfits rather than the traditional concert black attire. Some people will just wear a green sweater and others go all out. I’ve seen a Cindy Lou Who, the entire cast of Charlie Brown, the Grinch and reindeer before.”

“There might even be a surprise this year,” Kozak said. “I hear there will be a student wearing a pretty recognizable costume from a favorite holiday movie.”

The costumes are not only fun for the musicians, but the audience as well.

Michelle Jacobi, a sophomore majoring in business, said she believes the costumes add an extra element of fun to the performance.

“I think this concert is going to put me in the Christmas mood, to say the least,” Jacobi said. “And it sounds like a good study break and a perfect way to start finals week.”

The two groups, the University Singers and the Jazz Ensemble, have been practicing almost a month, both on their own and together for dress rehearsals.

“One of the best things about Hilaritas is watching how all of the different departments come together and perform,” Kozak said. “The experience students get from this type of ensemble is great.”

The two groups will be performing some songs together but will also have the chance to play songs on their own, showcasing their strengths.

“The jazz ensemble is playing several Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn arrangements of the Nutcracker Suite, and we always have a lot of fun with those,” Carrasquillo said. “But I think the audience loves the traditional Steve Sample arrangements that involve everyone on stage. Even after all these years, the opener and closer still have a huge impact.”

Steve Samples, former director of the jazz studies program, arranged the charts that have been used for decades by the “Hilaritas” performers.

Another tradition, Kozak adds, is the rate of ticket sales.

“The show usually sells out before the performance,” Kozak said.

He advised students to purchase their tickets early. Students may call Music Services at 348-1477 to purchase tickets.

“Christmas music just puts everyone in a good mood,” Jacobi said. “And the performers are all students, which also makes me excited. Our school is spreading that good mood to the community, which is one of the best parts about the whole thing.”

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