Holiday tradition continues at Sunday concert
Friday, November 30, 2007
By Ryan Holly
buds, ear drums and emotional senses will soon be in tune with the
Christmas Spirit. The Oklahoma Christian University music department
will present the 31st annual Cocoa & Carols at 2 p.m. on December 2
in Hardeman auditorium.
“I look at Cocoa & Carols as the kickoff to the holiday spirit.
It gives everyone a free concert with beloved Christmas carols and
songs, not to mention the hot cocoa and cider at intermission,” senior
choral member Jason Davis said.
Cocoa & Carols is split into two primary components with cocoa and cider bridging the gap between them.
“The program is in two parts: the first part is a big composition
for choir and orchestra. Over the past 30 years, we have done the major
works by the great composers such as Beethoven, Mozart, Bach and
Brahms. The second half is Christmas music that all of the different
groups perform. At intermission, we serve cocoa and cider,” Professor
of Music and Choral Conductor Ken Adams said.
This year, a brass and percussion ensemble will provide a boldly unique sound to the first half of Cocoa & Carols.
“This year, instead of having a usual orchestra with strings and
winds, we are using a brass and percussion ensemble. These are all
members of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic,” Adams said. “They are
magnificent players, and it will be very exciting, very big sound. In
the first half of the show, we are also doing a medley of Christmas
carols with the brass and an organ.”
A loss of grant money is one of the causes for this change from the usual orchestra to the brass and percussion ensemble.
“The grant money is growing smaller every year, and this year it
just ran out. Normally, I hire a big orchestra of about 30 pieces, but
when the grant money ran out, I didn’t have enough money to hire that
big of an orchestra. The grant did fall through, and that is one of the
reasons why we are using a brass ensemble because 10 brass and three
percussion have a really big impact,” Adams said. “When I knew that I
had to have fewer players, I decided to go to brass. I’m not
supplementing the grant money with any extra money; I’m just hiring
fewer orchestra people.”
Cocoa & Carols is a program that demands a lot of preparation and dedication.
“For the students, it’s worthwhile because it places musical and
intellectual demands on them that shorter pieces do not. They have to
remain focused on the same piece for 30 to 50 minutes. These
performances also put students in contact with some of the greatest
choral pieces ever written,” Adams said. “For me as a conductor, it is
important because nearly every year I investigate music that I know of,
but I have not yet learned. As a conductor, you continue to grow by
taking on new challenges and continue to develop by learning new music
along with the students. For the audience, I think it is an important
event for the community because it is an official opening for the
Many people will agree that Cocoa & Carols is a highlight of the holiday season.
“Cocoa & Carols is the grandest concert of the year. Other
concerts may be more interesting or more diverse but not nearly as
grandiose in scale,” senior John Butterfield said.