Nicole Letendre ’23
Chief Features Editor
The holiday season is here, and Holy Cross’ various choirs and instrumental ensembles are gearing up for their annual celebration of Lessons & Carols, held in St. Joseph Memorial Chapel on Thursday, December 9 at 8pm. Lessons & Carols is a performance of various Christmas carols and beautiful holiday songs, interspersed by readings of scripture. I had the opportunity to interview the Co-Chair of College Choir, soprano singer Natasha Rollo ’23, as well as the Co-Chair of Orchestra, clarinet player Kathleen Segal ’23. Natasha is a neuroscience and music double major. She is a member of Chapel Choir, where she sings with other members and cantors some Sunday masses. Aside from the music department, she is also the Co-Captain of Holy Cross Ballroom Dance, where the team learns different ballroom styles and participates in competitions. Natasha will be singing with the College Choir for Lessons & Carols! Kathleen is a Chemistry major, and she plays the clarinet in both orchestra and jazz band. She is also the HRA (Head Resident Assistant) of Healy Hall, a member of the Isaacs lab, and a tour guide. Kathleen will be playing the clarinet for Lessons & Carols!
What song or musical piece are you most excited about performing in Lessons & Carols, and why?
Natasha: I am most excited about In the Bleak Midwinter, the arrangement we are doing is unlike any other arrangement I’ve heard. It has a beautiful shift between minor and major, that really struck me! When we first did a whole run-through of the piece, there is a certain chord we sing at the end that comes from a big build up that actually got me somewhat emotional, I hope when we sing it others will feel similar.
Kathleen: I’m excited to play O Come All Ye Faithful. It’s always fun to play with the choir and the organ, and it really makes the carol a lot more exciting to play!
What has rehearsal been like in preparation for this kickoff to Christmas?
Natasha: Rehearsals have been somewhat stressful, a lot of the Choir unfortunately has been suffering from various colds that have been floating around campus, myself included. With this, it definitely has been hard to keep up with the Choir when you can only sing for more than a couple seconds before bursting into a coughing fit. But besides illness, rehearsals consist mainly of continuously going over the pieces and refining them to be the best they can be.
Kathleen: The orchestra just started rehearsals with Prof. Martin, and we’ll be rehearsing with the choir in the chapel on Wednesday.
As you have both been involved with Lessons and Carols in the past, what are you looking forward to and what do you love about the spirit of Lessons & Carols?
Natasha: I am so happy to share the beginning of the holiday season with everyone! It is wonderful to be able to have a live audience, last year’s online ceremony had a sense of lacking, so to be able to have people there and sing for them is just fantastic! Lessons and Carols brings out the joy of Christmas through song and tales, it brings a spot of happiness to a stressful last couple weeks with finals!
Kathleen: I love the festive nature of it. With school being so busy leading up to finals, it’s really nice to take a night to celebrate with everyone and get into the holiday spirit! I’m also looking forward to playing with the choir in front of an in-person audience. After having everything be virtual for so long, it’s nice to be able to get back to semi-normalcy.
A big thank you to Natasha Rollo ’23 and Kathleen Segal ’23 for giving us an inside peep into the production of Lessons & Carols and all the preparation that goes on behind the scenes. This festivity is always a Holy Cross favorite to attend, and it’s a beautiful celebration of the Christmas spirit and the timeless songs and carols we all know and love.