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A Masterful performance

Posted: December 5, 2008 10:56 p.m.
Updated: December 6, 2008 4:59 a.m.

Dr. Steven Opfer leads The Master's College orchestra during "Come ChristmasSing" Thursday at the school's Placerita Canyon campus.

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Students are proclaiming their holiday spirit in a series of eight "Come Christmas Sing" concerts at The Master's College.

The college music department hosted the first concert Wednesday in the college's transformed-gym concert hall.

Students sang traditional Christmas carols from themed stages that encircled the audience and performed an excerpt from Johann Sebastian Bach's "Magnificat."

The TMC Orchestra, directed by Stephen Opfer, accompanied the vocalists.

"We always perform a major work," said Paul Plew, music department chair and concert director. "This music is 250 years old, but it's phenomenal."

The backbone of the performance is the non-auditioned choir Collegiate Singers, Blackwell said. A subset of collegiate is Choral, with more than 50 members. Majesty, a third vocal group with 10 students, performs on the main stage. Plew directs all three of these groups.

Students posed in still-life scenes as the audience arrived, then switched positions when the orchestra finished a song to create a new scene for the next song.

Morgan Justice, a sophomore majoring in communications, enjoyed being part of the snow scene.

"It's hard if you decide to stretch your arm out (in a pose) for two minutes, but it's fun to come up with different poses," she said. "In the snow scene we are all dressed up in snow gear and we capture people doing things in the snow. Our goal is to stay as still as we can and make it look interesting."

Junior Jennifer Long, who's majoring in both music and English, organized the toy shop scene featuring a student dressed a ballerina, a Barbie Surf's-up Beach Ken doll and a jack-in-the-box, along with other toys.

"It's really fun coordinating costumes and getting people excited about different poses and ways we connect with the audience," she said.

Collegiate, Choral and Majesty singers opened the concert with "Celebrate the Wonder," followed by a variety of traditional Christmas songs. They invited the audience to participate.

Students said they didn't just want to do a great performance; they also wanted to share the meaning of Christmas.

"What really excites me is the joy that we're able to bring," said junior Marcus Rowley, a Majesty participant and biblical counseling major. "(We focus) on Christ and what Christmas is all about; the fact that he came as a human and died for our sins so now we're forgiven. We sing amazing songs but also we're able to express the joy that a life in Christ is all about."

Assistant producer Angela GeSantis, a senior music major at the college, hopes the audience leaves encouraged.

"We love to have fun using the gifts that the Lord has given us," she said.
Students will perform seven times this week. Each performance is open to the public and can accommodate 580 guests.

Limited tickets are available for the concerts today at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Doors open 30 minutes before each performance.

Tickets are available at www.masters.edu/music or at the door.

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