Candlelight 2019 Concert Performance

ISSAQUAH CHOIRS DELIVER ASTOUNDING PERFORMANCE: In Harmony and Hi Tones sing Christmas classics, led by Zane Bower and Cameron Zielinski.

Bettina Sanford, Staff Writer

On Dec. 10, 2019, Issaquah’s very own choirs put on a show for friends, family, and neighbors. The singers performed an array of different Christmas songs, from classics like “All I Want for Christmas Is You” to lesser known ones like “Arms around the World.”  Issaquah High’s choirs performed a majority of the songs, and even Issaquah Middle School’s choir got a chance in the spotlight as they sung “Carol of the Bells” and “Christmas Magic.” The high school’s performance was far from boring, especially with their creative stage moments that made the audience giggle. When singing about Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer, one member of the boys’ choir had put on a bright red ball on his nose as he pranced around the stage.

At one point in the night, the choir requested any alumni to come sing a song and join them on stage. One man and three women joined the choir as they sang every word and matched each hip sway. How they remembered all the words and moves from so long ago astonished me. There were multiple costume changes and a great deal of choreography that brought each and every song to life on the big stage. The final song that ended the night was “A Hanukkah Wish,” with soloists Dania Xiang and Lamir Magus. All of the lights in the theatre were shut off and slowly each singer made their way across the stage and throughout the walkways, dressed in robes and carrying LED candles. The whole audience was mesmerized by the beautiful sight mixed with the melodic voices. How the singers were positioned, encompassing the entire audience, had an almost surround-sound effect. The applause given afterwards was deafening and almost never ending as parents, grandparents, friends, and alumni cheered on the students for their brilliant show.

After the show, I went backstage to seek out singers and came across Barbara Irish, the director of the show. Irish said, “Every song has to have some kind of hook, be it a solo, moving lyrics, humor, interesting accompaniment, possibilities for choreography. If I like a song, it goes into my ‘keep pile,’ ” She continued, “We always look for a balance and variety  of styles. I like to infuse humor into every show, usually done with choreography. We will always do music around the audience and I always like to do some acapella. It is our goal to have shows that appeal to the whole family.” Freshman Aubrey Cook thought their performance for the night was “Pretty good and that they did the best that they could do.” Senior Marissa Conteer said, “I think it was a great last candlelight concert since I am a senior, and to improve later on just to watch Mrs.Irish as she is directing us.” Senior Sam Leon said, “My favorite song we performed tonight was ‘Jingle Bells’ because it is super fast paced and fun to sing.” The night came to an end after over 20 songs had been sung and parents met with their kids to congratulate them in the crowded hallways. To Irish, the singers, and the audience, the night was a success.