Photos are by Frankie Canseco
Bright Christmas trees, sparkling chandeliers, and Mexican poinsettias lined the stage as people of all ages dressed in pea coats, scarves and mittens filled the BYU-Idaho Center Saturday night.
Santino Fontana, the voice of Prince Hans in Disney’s Frozen, and Lexi Walker, a recording artist, joined BYU-Idaho’s Symphony Orchestra, combined choirs and student dancers to create BYU-I’s seventh annual Christmas program.
“It was a really nice story to kick (the audience) into the Christmas season … and to feel the warm spirit of Christmas,” said Thomas Kinder, a member of the orchestra and a junior studying music education. “It is going to be something that they take with them and share among others.”
The pieces performed and scriptures and stories shared gave the program an overall spirit of service, as the choir had participated in several service events prior to the performance.
Reagen Jeppesen, a freshman studying music education and a member of the choir, said the experiences she gained through those service opportunities made it more important for her to portray that spirit through her performance as if she were telling her own story of service.
The audience watched videos of the choir serving others in between songs, as well as videos of service stories to celebrate and honor the life of Christ.
“It was really neat how they played different videos throughout the performance,” said Mikayla Schmidt, a sophomore studying string performance. “They really promoted (the idea) that we should be serving, especially at this time of year.”
Members of the choir dressed as elves and reindeer as they interacted with the guest performers, Fontana and Walker, throughout the more light-hearted, upbeat songs. The choir also acted out many of the songs as they incorporated different props into their performance, including candles, toys and blankets.
“(The acting) makes it magical,” said Luke Crockett, a freshman studying music. “When you look at Santino and Lexi, they emulate joy and happiness. If we sat there with dull faces, the magic is gone.”
Some songs involved dancers in flowing Christmas dresses and suits. In one of the performances, the dancers flew out of the wings of the stage in turbans and saris, creating an essence of culture.
One dancer, Madeleine Larsen, a junior studying horticulture, said it was a neat experience because dancers are rarely given the opportunity to dance to live music.
Walker sang at the Hart auditorium at the beginning of October with Gentri. She and Fontana joined together to sing many duets throughout the program, including “Love Is an Open Door” from Frozen.
“It was exciting and surreal to be here with all these people who are putting this production together,” Walker said. “I am a huge fan (of Santino) and it was an honor to sing with him.”