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ND, SMC students spread Christmas spirit

Joseph McMahon | Tuesday, December 4, 2007

As the wind swept remnants of the season’s first snowfall across the quads, students began to celebrate the Christmas season. All around campus, giant light displays are being erected and Christmas-themed events held, giving students something other than finals to think about.

The Glee Club’s annual Christmas concerts, to be held Saturday at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, are expected to be sold out. The all-male choral group gave students, faculty and area residents a taste of what is to come Monday at the O’Shaughnessy Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the Great Hall, singing traditional favorites such as “White Christmas” and “Carol of the Bells” in addition to some Spanish and Caribbean songs. According to Glee Club vice president, senior Fran McCormick, Saturday’s concert will include carols from around the world.

All proceeds from this year’s concert will go to the Center for the Homeless in South Bend.

Club president senior Peter Mueller stressed that the concert is an event for the whole community.

“It brings in a lot of people from all over South Bend,” he said.

The concert, a blend of spiritual, ethnic and seasonal music, is an event that defines the Christmas season at Notre Dame, club members said.

“It is a very focal event that sums up the attitude for the whole season,” said vice president senior John Grothaus. “Students and teachers really come together, and families from the community have traditions where they come to the concert every year. This is something for the entire campus, not an event segregated by dorm.”

Tickets will be available at the door. For those that miss Saturday’s concert, the Undertones, an a cappella group composed of ten members of the Glee Club, will perform a Christmas concert Dec.12 at Washington Hall. The show will include a mix of Christmas anthems and pop songs, Grothaus said.

Tickets are available for $5 at the LaFortune Box Office.

In addition to the Christmas concerts, residence halls across campus are spreading holiday cheer by holding charity events or decorating their buildings. A number of dorms, including Alumni, Welsh Family and Farley, are holding intra-dorm contests to see which sections can best decorate their hallways.

“We have trains, giant inflatable snow men, Christmas trees, and tons of lights,” said Alumni hall president Matt Kernan. “The judging will take place on Wednesday and the entire campus is invited to come view the decorations on Friday.”

Alumni will also hold the campus’s only candlelight Christmas Mass on Dec. 16. The Mass is open to the entire campus.

Other dorms are celebrating by holding events geared toward benefiting various charities. This Wednesday, Howard will celebrate Howard Halliday outside of LaFortune. Howard residents will lead participants in singing carols, making s’mores, and drinking hot chocolate. The event will benefit Camp Kesem, a camp for children whose parents have been diagnosed with cancer, by selling T-shirts and encouraging donations.

“We’re excited because it’s the first year Kesem is recognized as a student activity,” said Howard Halliday co-chair, sophomore Lauren Miller-Lemon. “We want Kesem to become part of Notre Dame, so we decided this would be a good event because we can spread holiday cheer and benefit a good cause.”

Several dorms have already held Christmas events. Carroll hall hosted the well-attended Carroll Christmas Friday. The event included a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, a cookie-baking contest, Christmas carols and an opportunity for photos with Santa Claus.

On Sunday, Keenan Hall held its Reindeer Roast, a barbecue held outside. As part of Reindeer Roast Week, Keenan residents will participate in service activities including caroling at senior citizen homes, holding a canned food drive, and buying presents for a needy family.

“As a Notre Dame student, we should be very concerned about doing service during Christmas time,” said Keenan vice president, junior James Toner.

In addition to the service projects, Keenan residents have erected a giant light display on the east side of their dorm featuring a snowman and the phrase, “Twas the Knight before Christmas.”

In order to mount the display, hall residents constructed a frame with PVC pipe and then attached the lights with chicken wire. Residents had to worry about finding enough power outlets in order to prevent the strands from short-circuiting.

“We were careful to only string four strands of lights together,” Toner said.

The project was a chance to bring the dorm closer together and boost holiday spirits, he said.

“It’s good because it involves the whole dorm; it’s a celebration with your dorm family,” he said.