Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

December 6, 2013

Crescendos turn classics to rock

IUK show choir presents 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree'

By Lindsey Ziliak
Kokomo Tribune

---- — The IUK Crescendos show choir will turn classic, solemn Christmas tunes into up-tempo rock songs tonight during their annual Christmas show.

"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" will be set inside a rock cafe and will feature a little dialogue, some swing dancing and lots of singing.

The show opens up with a mashup of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "Carol of the Bells."

Don't worry, though. The purists won't be disappointed either. The show's second act will be a sacred, stand-and-sing choir event, said Rick Alexander, director of the show choir.

"Our show gets everyone in the spirit of Christmas," he said.

It's a free show that starts at 7 p.m. in Indiana University Kokomo's Havens Auditorium. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and seats are first come, first serve.

Alexander said seats go fast, so be prepared.

"Last Christmas it exploded," he said. "It was standing room only. It was crazy."

There were so many people that some were standing and sitting in aisles. Alexander said audience members aren't allowed to do that this year, though. Anyone without a seat will be turned away.

The choir has grown exponentially in the last few years.

Alexander said it started with a group of eight students, but he begged the university to open it up to community members and alumni.

Today, there are 84 members from 10 counties, including Marion, Wabash and Peru.

It's now the biggest group on campus. People from as far away as Bloomington and Indianapolis have come to see the shows, Alexander said.

The group embraces students, alumni and community members to join voices in raising awareness of local talent all while providing free, quality shows to thousands of people.

The Crescendos have performed shows like "Cats" and "Les Miserables" along with its cutting edge Christmas shows.

Last year's Christmas show raised some eyebrows. It was called "Naughty and Nice." The first act featured risque performances from drag queens, Alexander said.

This year's will be a little more tame, he said.

When the group isn't preparing for public shows, though, it's performing at local events like the IUK basketball games. It's all about outreach for the Crescendos.

"This choir shows the community and region that IU Kokomo is always growing and doing great things," Alexander said. "It gives students and community members a place to perform and have a great time while building a family. Several community members have re-enrolled in school, and some high school students have chosen IU Kokomo all due to their involvement in this group. Also, it keeps alumni connected and proud of their university."

Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune Life & Style editor, can be reached at 765-454-8585, at lindsey.ziliak@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @LindseyZiliak.