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Embracing the Holiday Season with All Sorts of Funky: Villanova University Jazz Band and Chamber Strings Christmas and Holiday Concert

‘Tis the season. December is upon us, along with all the things we love about the holiday season – tinsel, those red cups at Starbucks and, of course, Christmas music. This weekend, the Villanova Jazz Band (directed by Peter Neu) and the Villanova Chamber Strings (directed by Anna Pulaski) brought some Christmas cheer to Villanova’s campus, performing everyone’s favorite holiday songs in concert. 

The concert took place on Sunday, Dec. 3 in the Topper Theater. Families, friends and classmates joined together in the Mullen Center to support members of the jazz band and chamber strings as they performed in their first semester concert. 

This year was the first year that the jazz band and chamber strings performed in the same concert. Opening the concert, the jazz band treated the audience to fun, festive and unique twists on their holiday favorites. Following the jazz band, the chamber strings contributed a more classic, timeless feel to the holiday concert. Bringing both traditional music and fresh new twists to this concert, the Villanova Chamber Strings and Villanova Jazz Band perfectly captured the spirit of the holiday season. 

The concert began at 2 p.m. and the jazz band began its set with “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The band played seven pieces, including “The Christmas Song,” “Comfort and Joy” (a jazzy take on “We Three Kings”), “Deck the Halls With All Sorts of Funky” and, as a closing piece, “All I Want For Christmas is You.” 

After a brief intermission, the chamber strings began its performance. The orchestra played eight pieces, which included “The New World Symphony,” Vivaldi’s “Winter,” “Greensleeves” and “Christmas Eve Sarajevo,” as a closing piece. 

This year, the Villanova Jazz Band had one of the largest groups of student musicians in Villanova Jazz Band history. With roughly 40 members, it not only filled the stage, but it also filled the Mullen Center with its music. 

President of the Villanova Jazz Band, Brendan King, reacted to the amount of student involvement in this year’s jazz band. 

“Not only is it a lot of people, but that produces such a big sound,” King said. “The sound is very full and all the players are great. 

“We’ve worked really hard leading up to this concert. I’m looking forward to everyone getting in the spirit—both the musicians and the audience.” 

When the concert let out, the lobby was abuzz with the joy of the season. Families, friends and classmates who came to cheer on the musicians praised the performances and left the theater with bright excitement and eagerness for the holiday season. 

The practice, hard work and dedication that each musician put into this concert resounded with every note that was played. Both the Villanova Jazz Band and Villanova Chamber Strings put on beautiful performances and have a lot to be proud of. Every musician filled the theater with talent and in doing so brought plenty of Christmas spirit to the Villanova community. Thank you, Villanova Jazz Band and Villanova Chamber Strings, for a beautiful start to the holiday season.

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