December 2016

The end of the semester is upon us. While life here is something special that I wouldn’t change for the world, I think we’re all in need of a break! I’m very excited for Christmas this year as, although I don’t get to go home, I have family coming all the way from the UK to visit me here. I’m looking forward to seeing them again and showing them the part of the world where I’ve spent the last year and a half.

Westminster Choir is officially on break until the new year, when we’ll be heading on our Southern tour. Check out the dates and locations of our performances and see if we’re visiting somewhere near you! We’d love to see you there.

Our final concert of the year was a festive and fun Christmas concert for some of Westminster’s donors at the Racquet and Tennis club in New York; I must say, it was rather fancy! They were incredibly welcoming, and we had a blast performing some Christmas carols and other Christmassy pieces for them. We even sang with the audience in a heart-warming rendition of White Christmas (shout out to Scott, my fellow blogger, who was flawless on the piano!). We left having consumed some excellent food and having shared some Christmas cheer (and having somehow pulled off a crazy a cappella arrangement of Jingle Bells as our concert closer, well done us!).

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The last couple of rehearsals of the year were pretty laid back. This was a blessing as for us, as the lead up to finals was anything but… Not only that, but the whole school is involved with the Readings and Carols concerts that take place at the Princeton University Chapel. Let me tell you, this is no small undertaking! Anyway, our very last rehearsal couldn’t have been cosier because it was pyjama day – a variety of comfy clothing options were taken, but Dr Miller and I both had the right idea in taking the onesie route…

pajama-day

After that we had Readings and Carols, which yes takes a lot of work, but is such a beautiful concert when it all comes together. As a conducting graduate, I wasn’t performing, but instead was working behind the scenes. For me, that meant working with and looking after the sophomore choir, Schola Cantorum. They are the choir that I am working with this year as a graduate assistant, and I was so proud to watch them perform so beautifully.

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My Westminster Choir experience of 2016 ended with our Christmas party. During such a stressful time, we all appreciated the opportunity to let off some steam. We ate, drank and were merry: this group of resonant singers are also very resonant talkers!

And with that, we have made it to the end of 2016. This year has been intense in many ways, and there has been a great deal for all of us to deal with. I’m proud of what I have achieved this year and I am ridiculously excited for our upcoming projects with Westminster Choir, from tour in January, to Anthracite Fields in April, the Spoleto festival in May and Barcelona in July! I go into 2017 having no idea where I will end up at the end of it, but that’s ok. I will work it out in time. We will be back in the new year with regular updates as we head out on tour. For now though, I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!

(Today I will… family edition!)

Today I will enjoy the company of my family – Susan Hughes (my mum)

Today I will eat New York cheesecake – Sarah Hughes (my sister)

–Claire
claire-formal

 

About Westminster Choir

Westminster Choir is composed of students at Westminster Choir College of Rider University, a center for music study in Princeton, N.J.
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