By, Jilleen Barrett, A&E Editor
The Manhattan College Singers traded their usual spot in the stands of Smith Hall’s chapel for the stage at Radio City Music Hall, where they opened for the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular.
Andy Bauer, the director of performing arts, arranged for the group to perform acapella on what he called the “iconic stage,” which holds an audience of over six thousand people.
“The Manhattan College Singers performed in a prelude before the Christmas Spectacular began about five minutes before the start time of the show,” Bauer said. “We did two numbers, we did ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’ and a song called ‘We Believe’.”
Luis Chavez, the vice president of Singers, said the show was “magical.”
“It brought me a lot of joy to be able to perform and sing,” Chavez said. “It just felt like Christmas that day…getting up in the morning, putting our winter jackets on and heading over to Radio City Music Hall.”
Bauer detailed the group’s spontaneous performance of a Christmas carol in front of the famous Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center after the show.
“On Saturday morning, I woke up at about 5:30 out of a dream and I just had this idea in my head about, after the performance at Radio City, just walking over to the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza and doing this thing…It was sort of a spur of the moment thing, but we did it and it was really fun and people really enjoyed it,” he said. “They gave us a nice applause…I’d like to do that again sometime.”
John McKiernan, the public relations chairperson and librarian for the Singers, described what the performance was like from a singer’s perspective.
“I had gone to the [Rockefeller Center] tree a lot of times, and it was interesting to see the crowd sort of slowly gather and gather and we got a good number of people for it,” McKiernan said. “Andy was very excited to do this and also the board was really all for it.”
Bauer spoke about how being the director of Singers brings him joy, and how their second performance that day might have been sporadic, but it was inspired by a lot of effort from the group as a whole.
“Performance is a culmination of joy, you know, because it’s something that you work on in rehearsal,” Bauer said.
“Great performances don’t happen just spontaneously, they happen because a lot of hard work is put into it. So, I see rehearsal as just building and building and building joy, and finally releasing it in performance in front of an audience, and that’s one of the greatest things a performing artist can do.”
Chavez says that no matter what time of year it is, being a part of MC Singers brings him joy.
“It’s a community,” Chavez said. “I think it’s really nice that we all focus on what they would come together to work together towards a common goal for all of us.”
Bauer encourages the whole Manhattan College community to attend their next event, Lessons and Carols, which is on Sunday, December 5 at 3:30 p.m.
“We haven’t had a performance in public for 18 months at Manhattan College, and now we’re so ready to get back to that and that’s why we’re very much looking forward to our ceremony of Lessons and Carols on December 5, and we hope everyone turns out for that because it’s going to be really lovely.”