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Agnus Dei features arts department collaboration

While a school Christmas program can sometimes feel like a laundry list of recycled holiday songs, new music director Michael Ogdon has implemented a new concert style that involves every fine arts department. The performing groups collaborated to put on Agnus Dei, Dec. 14.

After coming on to replace band director James Loomis and choir director Aaron Bryan, Ogdon aimed to mix up the traditional concert style with one that would utilize everyone’s skills. Ogdon says the combined program contributed to his goal: to reach people for God.

“The power of a combined program is each piece combining to create that much more energy, that much more power, that much more impact,” Ogdon said. “The power of the message is exponential. From a musical standpoint, it’s also more impressive to have everyone working together.”

The program, held at Riverpark Bible Church, featured an “orchestra pit” with alumni, teachers, parents and friends supplementing the student musicians. The group accompanied the concert choir, Praisesong ensemble and junior high choir.

“At the very beginning, when we first starting working with the orchestra, it didn’t seem like we were going to mesh,” choir member Jessica Massie said. “We’ve never done anything like this before. It felt great to accomplish something new.”

In addition, the drama students, under the direction of advisor Brianne Vogt, participated by reciting Scripture and acting out the Christmas story.

“This event was totally different from any other drama I’ve done because it was a huge production,” drama member Katherine Bennett said. “It was a lot more hectic and hard to act. I think I did okay, partially because it was more comforting up there because there were more people around.”

As there were often 50 students on stage performing at once, the chaotic effect was felt by many, however, Bennett cites the concert as a positive challenge.

“It was a good experience because it stretched my acting,” Bennett said. “I learned how to do more than just stand on stage and memorize lines.”

Massie says the collaboration was well-worth the hassle.

“Combining the orchestra, band, choir, guard and junior high choir was worthwhile because it gave us a whole new opportunity to be together and bond as a arts program,” Massie said.

The concert featured traditional hymns, with which the audience could sing along, as well as choral and orchestral numbers, many of which focused on the spiritual aspects of the season.

“It went the way it was supposed to; God took it and used it, and we were just there to watch,” Ogdon said. “It went as well as it could, but that doesn’t mean I had low expectations: when you do something to meet people’s hearts, the performance just gets in the way of the message.”

For more information, e-mail Ogdon or read the Dec. 11 article, Music, drama programs combine for Christmas musical.

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  • L

    Lori MascarenasJan 28, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Go Em, Austin and Ryan!!….. bring home the GOLD!

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  • E

    Emily SchoettlerJan 28, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Austin, Ryan, and I are ballers! 🙂

    First place 🙂 yaaaa

    Reply