Christmas With the Choir

The Forum on Film


Jesse Breidenbach


Jillian Mike, Staff Reporter

It is no secret that Christmas is one of the busiest times of year, and for the Sacred Heart High School choir there is no exception because the group has many events and concerts during the Advent season. We went and interviewed several choir members and the choir director, Allan Dabkowski, and even filmed some of their events. This footage can be found in the accompanying “The Forum on Film” video linked in this article.

The choir has significantly expanded this year, both in membership and in performances. Last year, there were only about ten members and now there are sixteen. This expanding program is not just increasing in members, but also popularity and annual events. Some of the events we filmed include the St. Mary’s Hospital Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, The Sacred Heart Immaculate Conception Mass, Lessons in Carols, at Our Lady of Lordes Church, and The Annual Heart Lights Ceremony. They performed many traditional Advent and Christmas songs including “Ave Maria,” “Silent Night,”” Here I Am Lord,” “I Wonder as I Wander” and many others.

We met with their director of the choir, Allan Dabkowski, and asked him a few questions about our school’s choir and their Christmas events. He teaches the students to sing and about reading music, as well as preparing programs for Mass.  When asked about his goal for the chorus program at SHHS, Mr. Dabkowski said,”I just want everyone to sing and have fun singing.” He has been directing the Sacred Heart choir for three years now, but he directed band at George Fisher Middle School, in Caramel, New York for a number of years, and he currently is the music director of Saint John of the Cross in Middlebury. He said his favorite thing about directing the choir is,”the kids. I love the kids. I just think that some of the best kids at Sacred Heart are in the choir……They are just great students.” Some of his favorite selections the choir performed include: “For the Beauty of the Earth”, the Les Miserables medley, the Phantom of the Opera medley, and all the church and Christmas music they have done. Finally, we asked him what his favorite events the choir has done and he responded, “The dedication of the new organ in my church….. and I do have to say I enjoyed taking everybody to the Cathedral for the 175th Anniversary Mass, that was really great.”

We also interviewed several members of the chorus, to find out about their favorite aspects of choir during the Advent season. We began by asking some members to share why they joined the choir. Junior member, Amari Brantley said, ”I joined choir because I love what singing does to people, and I love to sing.” Also, sophomore member, Emelia Dooling responded, “To be able to sing. I have always enjoyed singing and I wanted to be able to do it in school, as well.”  We then asked some members what his or her favorite memory. Elizabeth Nonamaker, a junior, said, “My favorite memory was probably going with everyone to the 175th Archdiocese Anniversary Mass, because it was really fun for all of us and a cool experience.” And, senior, Katie Pelletier’s favorite memory is, “The first mass my freshman year.” When asked the choir members to name their favorite Christmas song, both Emelia, Katie, and senior, Elysa Lopez said, “Night of Silence”, and Elizabeth said, “I Wonder as I Wander.” Amari’s favorite is “O Come O Come Emmanuel”, and freshman, Stacy Rodriguez said her favorite was “Ave Maria.”  Finally, we asked the choir members to share their favorite choir event. Stacy Rodriguez and Elysa Lopez agreed that the tree light at St. Mary’s hospital was their favorite event.  Elysa said, “when they brought out the live animals, it was really cool”!

Christmas would not be Christmas without music. It has been a part of the holidays for as long as we can remember. Music is just as important to the holiday as Santa or Christmas trees. The chorus has brought us carols and hymns through these events, which is an important part of the holidays. Thank you to Allan Dabkowski and the entire Sacred Heart High School choir, for helping us to make this video. As mentioned, the accompanying The Forum on Film video will be linked below. Everyone at the Forum hopes you all have a very happy and healthy Christmas season.