TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama School of Music is hosting its 48th annual Christmas concert, “Hilaritas.”
The concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Moody Concert Hall with an encore performance Dec. 10 at 3 p.m.
Christopher Kozak, associate professor of music, director of jazz studies and one of the conductors of the concert, along with Dr. Andrew Minear, said the event will feature 16 performances by the Alabama Jazz Ensemble, Huxford Symphony Orchestra and University Singers.
“There will be a lot of known pieces that reference the holiday and some new music that people wouldn’t recognize,” Kozak said. “There’s classics like ‘O Christmas Tree,’ ‘It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas,’ ‘Frosty the Snowman,’ a holiday sing-a-long of ‘Let it Snow’ and others that are holiday oriented, but not necessarily Christmas tunes.
“We still play some of the original compositions – the opener, finale and Steve Sample’s version of Jingle Bells – but we’ve added some things and changed some pieces. Every year we try to do something different, and every year it’s slowly changing. We want to maintain the tradition but also add some freshness to the concert.”
The first Hilaritas concert at the University was performed in 1969 under choral director Fred Prentice. After a trip to Williamsburg, Virginia, Prentice saw the word Hilaritas, which was supposedly the name of a Greek goddess of joy, Kozak said.
Thinking the name would be a great title for a concert, he got together with Sample, who was one of the founders of UA’s jazz program, and created a Christmas concert bringing together performers in the jazz ensemble and performers in what would later become the Huxford Symphony Orchestra.
“We don’t normally collaborate like this with these two groups,” Kozak said. “That’s why students are really looking forward to it. Its genre bending and brings everyone together doing something they wouldn’t normally do during the year.”
More than 100 students will perform in the approximately hour and a half-long concert. The concert hall will be decked and students will dress like holiday characters.
Tickets are on sell now and range in price from $5-$15. They can be purchased online at the School of Music’s website or by calling 205-348-7111.
“For a lot of people in the community, the holiday season for them hasn’t begun until they see Hilaritas,” Kozak said. “What I like seeing is people enjoying the holiday classics and all the students who’ve worked so hard for them.
“It’s a family affair with good music and a good time.”
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.