By Tyler BIDDLE
The holidays are a busy time at Crescenta Valley High School and no one understands this better than the elite Charismatics choral team. All CV choral groups are run by Shannon Mack who has been working with his students for months to make the upcoming Feast of Lights concert one of the biggest events of the school year.
At CV there are several different divisions of the choir program such as Women’s Ensemble, A Capella Men and A Capella Women but perhaps none work as hard as Charismatics.
“Preparation is a bit more relaxed for other groups,” said Mack. “Charismatics is much more serious and fast paced.”
The group consists of 24 hand picked singers, making it a very competitive and demanding experience. To even be considered requires significant previous choral experience as well as an audition. Once students are in, they hit the ground running.
“With Charismatics I assume they know all the basics and just get right down to learning the music,” said Mack. In fact, practice begins before the school year starts.
There are 36 different songs in the Charismatics caroling repertoire alone. Students are expected to have practiced over the summer and to know all of the carols at the beginning of the year and, yes, there is a test.
To earn a spot in Charismatics students must have, well, charisma. The group is known for their lively performance style that goes beyond just getting the music right. These singers prove that little gestures and facial expressions can go a long way in drawing an audience in, especially when performing only feet away from onlookers. Caroling is the perfect showcase for the team to really engage their audience up close with a mixture of musicality and performance.
Last year the Charismatics did 34 different caroling performances in different locations throughout the community. They sing in small groups of eight carolers each or as the complete 24 person team. Between carols and the Feast of Lights concert, each member has to learn over 40 different pieces for the holiday season alone.
Feast of Lights is on Friday Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. in the MacDonald Auditorium at 4400 Ramsdell Ave. in La Crescenta. There is a $5 suggested donation at the door. Ticket sales will go towards all manner of support for the production itself such as piano maintenance, set decorations, and sound systems.
The Charismatics will also be performing at the CVHS Prom Plus Holiday Boutique on Dec. 14 from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The boutique is part of the holiday tour of homes and is located at 2563 Foothill Blvd. in La Crescenta on the grounds of St. Luke’s of the Mountains.