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University of Alaska Fairbanks adds Caribbean vibe to holidays

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Posted: Friday, December 11, 2009 5:14 pm | Updated: 12:46 pm, Wed Dec 26, 2012.

FAIRBANKS - Bob Marley sings a version of “White Christmas” with the line: “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the one I’ve never known.”

True, Jamaica is not a place likely to have snow, so the meaning is not lost, but this isn’t to say that Christmas doesn’t come to the Islands, and that holiday music can’t take on a Caribbean flair.

University Chorus director/conductor Jaunelle Celaire will showcase Caribbean Christmas music with the presentation of “Caribbean Christmas Mass,” 8 p.m. Saturday at Davis Concert Hall.

Celaire’s parents are from the Caribbean; her mom is from Trinidad and father from Dominica, so this music is not unfamiliar to her, but might be for much of the Fairbanks populace.

“We don’t hear Caribbean music up here very much,” she said. “We want to do something different. It’s always so cold at Christmas we went with something warm.”

The holiday songs will be transformed from traditional favorites by samba, calypso, reggae and salsa rhythms.

“They are actual Christmas songs, so “O Come O Come Ye Emmanuel,” “Silent Night” and “Joy to the World” are there, (but) they are all set to Caribbean beats.”

Along with the chorus, there will be a percussion ensemble adding to the Caribbean vibe.

“We’ve been practicing since September for this event,” Celaire added.

Celaire said that another intention of the performance is to educate the public about different cultures and traditions. She sees this program as a good place to begin as music and the holidays naturally bring people together.

“It should be pretty different. I don’t recall anything like this ever being done here,” she said. “It’s Christmas music that is set to a different culture because we always want to educate when we want to perform.”

A silent dessert auction and bake sale will also take place during intermission and following the performance.

Call 474-5291 for more information.


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