‘Tis the season: Bare Voices, Blue Notes, and Bear Strings to perform a winter concert


Photo by and used with the permission of Nick Juknelis

On December 15, Bare Voices, Bear Strings, and Blue Notes will perform several holiday tunes in a separate concert. Due to COVID, the concert did not occur last year.

Jeanne Yu , Bear Facts Contributor

Bare Voices, Blue Notes, and Bear Strings will join together tomorrow night to play holiday tunes at their annual winter concert. But don’t expect to hear the same old expected songs. The groups plan to entertain their audiences with some jingles that go beyond the traditional holiday music to get the audience humming along.

“A lot of people think that [traditional] songs are really boring to listen to,” Julia Touvannas, senior and member of Bear Voices, said. The solution? “[The music] we’re doing is up-tempo and really fun and different.”

Bare Voices, Blue Notes, and Bear Strings will separately perform an array of winter music. Bear Voices will be singing “Jingle Bells,” “S’vivon,” and more, while Blue Notes will be performing “Run Rudolph Run,” “Underneath the Tree,” in addition to several other songs. Bear Strings, on the other hand, will perform “Christmas in the Caribbean,” “Pat-a-Pan,” along with more unique music. 

“We tend to not do a lot of holiday tunes in orchestra or in the classes. [For] students who want to do that, this is their chance. Sometimes we have some vocal soloists, we have a drummer, and this time we even have an electric guitar player and a whole bunch of other [instrumental parts],” Nathan Sackschewsky, orchestra teacher and Bear Strings director, said.

But the group isn’t straying too far from the theme of the night: celebrating the season.

In addition to the Christmas classics and non-traditional arrangements, the concert will conclude with a combined finale performance of “Deck the Halls.” What won’t be combined is the seating. Due to continued COVID protocols, according to Sackschewsky, there will be socially distanced seating in the PAC, as well as an option to live stream the concert rather than attend in person.  

“We’ll see how it all works this year. I know with seating, we’re always kind of concerned about how many seats we have in the PAC,” Sackschewsky said regarding the popularity of the combined holiday concert. “The audience is going to be every other chair in the PAC like we did it for October concerts. We’re trying to keep things as safe as possible. And being aware of what we need to, we’re all being masked [too].”

Despite the challenges of overcoming COVID restrictions to create an enjoyable experience, the groups are looking forward to the concert and have been rehearsing for a while.

“We had our October concert, and then we busted out the holiday tunes. So we were doing Christmas tunes before Halloween, actually,”  Sackschewsky said. “We were already digging on them. And there’s a couple of songs that we’ve been working on since the beginning of the year that will kind of throwback in, too, because we need a number of tunes for this.”

Bare Voices has also been practicing in preparation for tomorrow’s show, and Touvannas says she’s ready to show off the group’s hard work.

In class, some days we’ll run through the pieces in order rather than just working on parts of certain songs. I think when you run through pieces, we’re kind of forced to just go ahead, even if we mess something up, and that’s like what you’d have to do on stage,” Touvannas said.

The group has also already performed some of their songs at Miracle on Main Street in Lake Zurich, which Touvannas points to as good preparation for the school concert being held in the Performing Arts Center at 7pm tomorrow night. 

“This is my favorite time of year. I feel this is going to be something I remember because I love it and we love performing and since we didn’t get to have it last year, I’m just really excited about it,” Touvannas said. “I think it’d be fun for us and the audience to hear little twists on songs they already know. It’s just going to be really awesome.”