BNHS Choir (1)By Kathryn Menue


BELVIDERE – On Tuesday, Dec. 1, the Belvidere North High School (BNHS) choirs kicked-off the holiday season with their Winter Traditions concert at the Performing Arts Center (PAC).

The concert, which began at 7 p.m., was packed with families and friends showing support for the BNHS music department.

The show opened with welcoming remarks from Choir Director Dr. Phillip D. Vermillion, who conducted “a social experiment” where he had everyone turn off their phones so as not to interrupt the choirs on their special night. He also joked that if audience members had a pager, then they should “please step out of the 1980s.”

So the concert commenced with Mixed Chorus readying themselves to open the show, the sign language interpreter preparing the pieces so everyone could enjoy the performance, and Dr. Vermillion emitting a contagious spark of enthusiasm which spread through the choirs and onto the audience.

Mixed Chorus

Mixed Chorus was the first of six choirs to perform from BNHS, opening the evening of holiday cheer with their rendition of Andy Beck’s “Grinch! A Christmas Medley.” This song featured the soloists Nick Roman and Forest Shattuck who channeled the deep Grinch voice during this classic ensemble. The choir also performed “Season of Joy” by John Leavitt and had the audience laughing during John Jacobson and Mac Huff’s “Holiday Shopping Spree,” due to the song’s whimsical feel.BNHS Choir (2)

The choir closed with “Joy: A Medley of Carols,” arranged by Jay Althouse, which featured the young talent, Virginia Wooley.

BNHS Music Boosters

As the next choir took to the stage, the BNHS Music Boosters reminded people to check out their Facebook page and to support the music department by buying T-shirts and other items. These fundraising opportunities help fund the music program for the bands and choirs to explore music education through events such as IMEA (Illinois Music Educators Association).

Show Choir

Decked out in Santa hats accompanied by BNHS Choir (3)candy canes for their first dance number, Show Choir performed “Cool Yule,” arranged by Kirby Shaw, “Santa Tell Me,” arranged by Alan Billingsley, “Alleluia Madrigal,” by Donald Moore, and “Home for the Holidays,” arranged by Mark Brymer. “Santa Tell Me” showcased the soloist voices of Michelle Stinson and Stephanie Cipolla, and “Home for the Holidays” featured the soloist performances of Angelica Gaj and Natalie Altintop.

Show Choir truly shined with their strong and very uniform acappella version of “Alleluia Madrigal.”


The dancing continued as the Choraliers performed their harmonious and whimsical blend of songs. They performed “Everywhere Christmas Tonight,” by Joseph M. Martin, “Falala,” arranged by Jay Althouse, “Light the Lights” by Andy Beck, “The Dinner Bell Carol,” arranged by Philip Kern, and “What Christmas Means to Me.”

The Choraliers perfect choreography represented the carefree spirit of the holiday season.

Treble ClefBNHS Choir (4)

The Treble Clef all female honors’ choir delivered a sweet and commanding performance for such a small choir throughout their performances of “Whither Must I Wander,” arranged by Douglas E. Wagner and “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!,” arranged by Ed Lojeski. Treble Clef’s somber interpretation of “Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel),” arranged by Roger Emerson, was a heartfelt and touching way to end their set.

This choir was directed by Mr. Scott Aska.

Freshman Chorus

Freshman Chorus took the audience around the world with their Christmas ensemble. They performed “Snow is Falling” by Ruth Elaine Schram, “Somewhere in My Memory,” by John Williams, and “Song For a Russian Child” by Andrea Klouse.

Also, Freshman Chorus excelled in their renditions of “Deedle Deedle Dai,” by Lois Brownsey and Marti Lunn Lantz and “Patapan (Burgundian Carol),” arranged by Audrey Snyder.


Acappella stole the night away with their spectacular performance of “White Winter Hymnal,” arranged by Alan Billingsley. The unique performance included a hand-clapping choreography.

They continued with “AnBNHS Choir 5 Acappella Christmas: Silver Bells,” arranged by Kirby Shaw. This version included solo performances from Bryce Panzella, Leslie Ruiz, Amanda Barthel, Lilian Czechowicz, Emma Gawaran, and Olivia Albrecht.

Acappella also performed “Celebrate Christmas,” arranged by Ed Lojeski, which included “The First Noel” and “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.”

Their performance continued with “Hallelujah! (from The Messiah), which reunited old Acappella members from the audience with the current Acappella choir.

The night ended with a performance of “Silent Night,” by Franz Gruber. Acappella sang the first run-through of “Silent Night” in English, followed by German students singing it in the traditional German, and the third time through, the entire audience joined in to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season.

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