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December 20, 2023

AHA Christmas Concert Was a Glorious ‘Sound Card’

Angel musicians in Grades 6-12 gave “sound card” a new meaning as they presented Christmas favorites in the Holy Angels auditorium.

In keeping with AHA tradition, vocalists presented Caccini’s uplifting version of “Ave Maria.” Concertmaster Hyerin “Ella” Eom played the stirring violin solo. Singers in their formal black and white concert-wear soon filed into the auditorium holding candles.

Eom returned to the stage with Lauren Yoon for a spirited presentation of “Sonata for Two Violins in A Minor, mvmt. 3” by Eugene Ysaye.

Middle school handbell players at the first, second, and third-year levels demonstrated their musical skills. Selections included “Westminster Chimes,” “Carol of the Bells,” and “We Three Kings.”

Ellie Sawyer sang “Still, Still Still” in her rich, operatic soprano voice as the AHA Upper School’s handbell players as they rang out the melody. Choral Director Lisa Marciano provided accompaniment on the piano. The handbell players also performed “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “White Christmas.”


“Sing Noel,” “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” and “Were You There on That Christmas Night?” were presented by the Middle School Choir. Audience members joined in as the choir sang “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

Middle School Orchestra members played “Away in a Manger” and “June” from “The Seasons.” The latter featured a piano solo by Kaci Li.

Seraphima, AHA’s select a cappella ensemble, performed clear, harmonious renditions of “Psallite,” “Silver Bells,” and “Wassail! Wassail!” The vocalists shared their energy with the audience, filing into the aisles as they sang “Here Comes Santa Claus.”

The Gospel Choir, directed by religious studies teacher Rev. George Maize, presented a crowd-pleasing “Christmas Medley” that featured a sing-along. Choir members include Alexandra Fontana, Gabrielle Fontana, Nora Giannantonio, Gigi Ochs, and Eva Zazzali.

Chamber Orchestra members from the upper school showcased their exemplary talents as they performed “String Quartet in F Major, mvmt. 1” by Maurice Ravel. Ensemble members include Ella Eom, Brianna Kim, Hayley Lim, and Lauren Yoon.
The Jazz Ensemble performed “Feliz Navidad” and a heartwarming rendition of “Christmas Time Is Here,” featuring solos by tenor saxophonist Catherine Raimondi and trumpet player Reese Wilson.



AHA Choir members’ pieces included “The Innkeeper’s Song” with vocal solos by Audrey Collins and Gigi Ochs, and flutist Sarasihu Kim. Choir Manager Victoria Velasco, Isabella Wisniewski, Gigi Ochs, and Ellie Sawyer, better known as The Cadenzas, presented the Italian Christmas favorite “Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle.”


The choir received accompaniment from string players Sera Chung, Ella Eom, Esther Myung, Lauren Yoon, Hayley Lim, and Brianna Kim. Collaborative presentations included “Silent Night” and “Festival Gloria.”

The Academy Orchestra rounded out the program with selections that included “Overture to the Abduction” from Mozart’s “Seraglio,” “Stille, Stille, Stille” with a piano solo by Chloe Kim, and musical themes from “The Polar Express.”
AHA’s musicians are led by Performing Arts Director Dan Mahoney (handbells/middle school vocalists), Choral Director Lisa Marciano (upper school), Gospel Choir Director George Maize, Upper School Orchestra/Jazz Ensemble Director Andrew Monticello, and Middle School Orchestra Director Brian Kirk.

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 many cultural and religious backgrounds. AHA’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.