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December 14, 2022

AHA Christmas Concert Began with Tradition; Ended with a Twist

This year, the Academy of the Holy Angels Christmas Concert infused seasonal favorites with a very special finale. Held at Saint Mary’s Church in Dumont (while the auditorium renovations continued), the festivities began with Caccini’s “Ave Maria,” an anticipated annual staple. Concertmaster Faith Youn (’23) played the violin solo as the chorus processed up the aisle, candles in hand.

 

The event ended with what is sure to become a new tradition: Angel alumnae joined in a combined finale featuring “Silent Night” and “Auld Lang Syne.”

 

Student musicians were led by Performing Arts Director Daniel Mahoney, Choral Director Lisa Marciano, Upper School Instrumental Music Director Andrew Monticello, and Middle School Instrumental Music Director Brian Kirk.

 

The Middle School Chamber Ensemble presented “Largo” from Purcell’s “Sonata No. 1,” and the Middle School Instrumental Ensemble performed “Angels in the Halls.” Middle school choir members performed “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly,” “Sing Noel,” “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” and “Were You There on That Christmas Night?” Ava Cifelli and Cristyn Lindsay were featured soloists. The middle school’s handbell players, including the first-year ensemble, rang out multiple pieces, including “We Three Kings.” 

 

Upper School Chamber Ensemble members presented three selections. Cellist Brianna Kim and violinist Faith Youn played an energetic “Zingaresca” from Schulhoff’s “Duo for Violin and Cello.” Violinist Hyerin “Ella” Eom and flutist Sooah Jeon presented “Passacaglia” from Handel/Halversen’s “Suite No. 7.” Pianist Miru Dadacay, cellist Brianna Kim, and flutist Sarasihu Kim combined to present “Scherzo” from “Trio or Piano, Flute, and Cello” by Carl Maria von Weber. 

 

Handbell players from the upper school played “Carol of the Bells,” “Chatter with the Angels,” and “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

 

Selections by the Academy Orchestra included Johann Strauss’ overture from “Die Fledermaus,” and Tchaikovsy’s “Trepak” from “The Nutcracker.”

 

Vocalists Isabella Wisniewski and Ellie Sawyer and flutist Sarahsihu Kim were featured soloists as the AHA Concert Choir performed “I Saw Three Ships.” Lauren Gumban sang the solo portion of the whimsical piece, “A Cold in My Nose,” and Nora Giannantonio soloed during “Sure on This Shining Night.”

 

Seraphima, AHA’s select, a cappella ensemble, regaled the audience with “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and “Let it Snow.” Kira Sullivan, Victoria Velasco, and Olivia Papp were the featured soloists for the group’s moving rendition of “Mary, Did You Know?”

 

Jazz Ensemble players entertained with “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Jingle Bell Rock.” Highlighted performers were tenor saxophonist Catherine Raimondi and trumpet player Theresa Wilson.

 

AHA Academic Dean Carmen Quiñones’ closing remarks included special thanks to Saint Mary’s Church Pastor Stephen Carey and AHA Campus Ministry Director Kathleen Sylvester for securing the concert venue. Dean Quiñones thanked everyone involved with the evening’s music, and asked members of the Class of 2023 to gather at the front of the church.

“Thank you for gracing us with four years of wonderful music,” she told the seniors.

 

Several alumnae, including AHA Principal Jean Miller (AHA ’83), then added their voices to the combined finale.

Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, by offering a first-rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity, and service to others.

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