By Valerie Mendoza
Nothing helps me feel the Christmas spirit more than Christmas music, and The Covey Center for the Arts’ Light Up Christmas! had a total of 30 outstanding voices that helped the audience feel it in Provo on Friday night. There were 3 different groups and one solo singer, all with their own style and music.
The Covey Center is a modern, comfortable venue that I always enjoy. The first group to perform was the Covey Center’s own high school A Cappella group, FreQuency, consisting of six young men and six young women. It’s the only high school A Cappella group in the nation comprised of students from different high schools. The singers come from as far away as Bountiful and Delta to practice each week in Provo. That’s dedication! They were a fun group and all of their different personalities came out as they sang.
Since it was a Christmas concert, I expected Christmas music, so I was surprised that FreQuency’s first two songs were not holiday tunes. But the third one was, and half of their selections were holiday themed. They performed a rendition of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” that gave me goosebumps with their beautifully blended voices. My favorite, however, was their version of Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida.” Nothing says Christmas like a Coldplay hit.
Next on the stage was Spark, a new contemporary Christian group of five women and three men. They were all wearing different outfits, but all in black and white and they had a colorful slideshow of lively (and a little psychedelic sometimes) graphics behind them as they sang. They were very energetic as they danced around the stage while singing. I didn’t recognize any of their songs as Christmas songs (although I could be wrong), but they sang inspirational songs and ones that mentioned Jesus. “This is Living” was upbeat. “Diamonds” was powerful, with the message that not everything life is easy, but God uses those experiences to make us better people. During one of their songs, they had a slideshow with photos depicting Jesus, and encouraged the audience to sing along by showing the lyrics as part of the slideshow.
VoiceLine, UVU’s all-male A Cappella group of nine men, came up next, all decked out and fancy. They were on America’s Got Talent in 2015. How exciting is that? I saw them perform a couple of years ago, but there are already different members of the group since students come and go. It’s still a talented group of fun young men, all of them, but I have to mention one member specifically. Phil Childs from Indiana got a lot of applause for his deep, soulful voice. One of his fellow group members said that he always gets the most cheers. He’s from Indiana and reminded me of people I knew when I lived in Ohio.
They sang a variety of Christmas music and entertaining non-Christmas songs. Some of the Christmas songs were classics like “Joy to the World” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and more contemporary ones including “Straight No Chaser”, which featured Janae Klumpp. My favorite Voiceline offering was when their three beatboxers performed their version of “Little Drummer Boy.” I do not understand how people can make so many different sounds, but I love it.
Klumpp sang a few Christmas solos with her smooth voice, and looked fabulous in her pretty, sparkly gold dress. Klumpp was in BYU’s Noteworthy (the all-female A Cappella group) and is now in a new A Cappella group called Lucca. She only sang a few songs before intermission. I particularly liked “Wrapped in Red” and also “Where are You, Christmas?”
After the intermission, to add variety to the show, Voiceline and Spark took turns performing more songs. Voiceline had a trivia game with prizes and children actually answered 3 of the 4 questions. They weren’t necessarily easy, because we were asked: “What was the first song broadcast in space?” It was “Jingle Bells” and a young girl answered this correctly. Smart children in the audience.
Spark had a Techno Christmas Sing-Along, which was a medley of Christmas songs that the audience sang with them. The best part was when they had all the children around 8 years old and younger go up on stage and sing “Let It Go” with them. They even gave each child a silver fake microphone to use. Some of those children really got into it and knew every word.
For the finale, they had a dance off between Voiceline and Spark, and Voiceline won. During the last song, long metallic streamers shot from up above and onto the audience and were met with “oohs” and “aahs.”
This is the second year of Light Up Christmas! at the Covey Center for the Arts. It’s a one-night event, so you’ll have to add it to your list of Christmas fun for 2018. Covey Center for the Arts’ Light Up Christmas! with Spark, UVU VoiceLine, and @FreQuency, with Janae Klumpp gave me a great big Christmas music happy. I’ll be back next year.
The Covey Center for the Arts presents Light Up Christmas!
The Covey Center for the Arts, Main Hall 425 West Center Street Provo, Utah 84601
December 22, 2017