By Samantha SLAYBACK
For most people, November marks the beginning of the holiday season. However, for the Crescenta Valley High School music group the Charismatics, the Christmas season begins in June.
At the end of each school year, auditions are held for the Charismatics acapella group for the following year. All students who are chosen are then given a caroling booklet containing 36 Christmas carols. The new members are expected to have the entire booklet mostly memorized by the beginning of the school year just a few months later.
“So basically Christmas begins in the summer for us,” Bass 2 section leader Kirk McCreary said.
Once the school year starts, the Charismatics have daily one-hour practices. They also have weekly lunch sectionals when they practice not only their Christmas carols, but also other songs from their concert repertoire.
The group also takes a weekend retreat at the end of September or beginning of October each year. During this trip the Charismatics spend three days doing exercises in team building and practicing their songs extensively.
“This is when we really begin to come together as a group, both musically and socially,” said McCreary. “All of this practice is done so we can perform at our highest level.”
The group’s hard work can be seen at several festivals where the Charismatics compete. At the festivals, their singing is judged on various aspects, including tone, expression, and execution among others.
On campus, the Charismatics are known best for their performance of the “Star Spangled Banner,” though they also sing “Happy Birthday,” perform Valentine grams, and, of course, sing Christmas carols. They have also been known to perform in classrooms and offices from time to time upon request and sing alongside other musical groups at school choir events.
The community will have a chance to hear much of their music at the Christmas concert “Feast of Lights” on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. in the Crescenta Valley High School Auditorium located in the 4400 block of Ramsdell Ave.
“Most notably, we perform ‘caroling gigs’ for a half hour to an hour (upon request even longer) at holiday gatherings, community functions, or anything for no fee, although we do accept and appreciate donations,” McCreary said. “You might even see us caroling on Honolulu Avenue!”
As the holidays draw near, the Charismatics’ schedule is filling fast. Anyone interested in scheduling the Charismatics for a holiday party or other event can email CVHS choir teacher Shannon Mack at firstname.lastname@example.org.