For over half a century, the Defiance High School choral music department has made the holiday season something very special for its town. Every year, small music ensembles venture forth into the community singing at churches, malls, nursing homes, community events and even Walmart. In every town, Christmas brings a whole host of wonderful community events. For the sixth year in a row, the Defiance Community Auditorium will be the site for a Holiday Choral Festival, featuring the choral music of three northwest Ohio high school choirs.

This event has been steadily growing in popularity since its inception in 2013. The choral department has invited two other high school ensembles to share the stage at the Defiance Community Auditorium on Dec. 1 at 3:00 PM. The concert will feature the Rossford High School Varsity Choir, under the direction of Jessica Witulski; the Wauseon High School A Capella Choir, under the direction of James Vaughn; and the Defiance High School A Cappella Choir directed by Eric West. All of the choral programs have connections to each other. West and Vaughn went to college together at Bowling Green State University, and Rossford High School is where West did some of his first student teaching experiences. In addition, one member of Rossford’s Varsity Choir is the granddaughter of Defiance’s long-time accompanist, Lori Schultz.

Each choir will perform a several selections on their own, and then all the choirs will process to the stage singing “Silent Night.” Once assembled on the stage, the combined choir will perform three songs, each one conducted by one of the high school mentors. The combined ensemble will have nearly 100 voices on stage. Each school also will have a small ensemble featured in between the large choirs. Featured songs will include favorites such as “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “Carol of the Bells.”

“It is an absolute privilege to share the stage with some amazing choirs and their amazing directors,” said West, “This event has grown to become one of my favorites of the entire year. Seeing students from different schools work together for a common purpose and that purpose being the spreading of holiday joy… well, it just doesn’t get much better than that.”

Tickets for the concert are $5 and available at the door.

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