📷 The Grand Staircase at the Massachusetts State House, where students from Southbridge’s Trinity Catholic Academy will perform. Photo courtesy Mass.gov.
By Sarah Champagne, Managing Editor
SOUTHBRIDGE –Students in the after-school chorus at Trinity Catholic Academy will create special holiday memories Tuesday, Dec. 11, when they perform at the State House in Boston as part of Secretary William Francis Galvin’s holiday concert series. The school performs holiday music at the capitol about every other year and this is the third year that they have had the honor of being a featured choral group.
“The students are very excited to be going to the State House on Tuesday,” says Brandon Vennink, musical director for Saint John Paul II Parish.
“Some of them remember going two years ago and the younger ones have heard the older ones talking about it for so long, they can’t wait to find out what it’s all about. Of course, the idea of getting out of a whole day of school is always exciting, too,” Vennink adds.
After the choral performances, staff at the State House normally provide the group with refreshments and a guided historical tour of the building. This year, William Francis Galvin will also meet in person with the students.
“Usually, we just sing and they feed us some cookies and water, but this year Secretary Galvin was interested in meeting with us because he is a former Catholic school student,” said Vennink.
In the short time that the Trinity Catholic Academy group has been traveling to Boston for the holiday concert series, they have created an informal tradition of stopping at the Natick plaza for a quick lunch. When they are done with their meal, they perform for the employees of the plaza before going on their way.
“We always sing for the workers who served us and they always appreciate it. It’s kind of weird singing Christmas carols to a bunch of McDonald’s workers, but they have always appreciated it. Last time they all had their phones out videotaping us,” Vennink recalls.
Groups who would like to take part in the State House Holiday Concert Series must go through their local congressman to be a part of the event. Vennink describes it as a process that is not difficult, but one which can take some time. Trinity Catholic Academy began planning this year’s performance in September. Vennink says that Trinity Catholic Academy’s director of advancement, Al Menard, was instrumental in coordinating the trip.
The group of 43 students, nearly a third of the school’s student body, will leave Tuesday morning and travel to Boston to perform at The Grand Staircase of the State House at 12:30 p.m. Two choirs will participate. One is made up of students in first through fourth grade and the other is made up of fifth through eighth-grade students. The group will sing “traditional music from the concert choir repertoire which consists of historical and modern classical music.” One song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, even includes some choreography.
Vennink describes the trip as a joyful opportunity to share Christmas music.
“We believe that all groups should be represented in our state capitol, including our tradition. So, we do go to purposefully bring a Christmas representation to our great state and commonwealth,” Vennink says.