ENJOYING THE SHOW: Audience members view the mosaic light show in the Clarence Johnson Auditorium. (Kyle Kucera)
ENJOYING THE SHOW: Audience members view the mosaic light show in the Clarence Johnson Auditorium.

Kyle Kucera

Silver mosaic: 25th anniversary

December 14, 2021

The 2021 holiday mosaic concert marks the 25th anniversary of this event. For the past 90 years, there has been a December holiday concert at DGN, yet in 1996, it was reimagined by fine art Department Chair Brayer Teague and Director of Choirs Frank Piekarz. The two wanted something different and more aligned with the collegiate style of concerts, combining many different styles and mediums of music into one piece.

This year, the fine arts department and the DGN Friends of Fine Arts have commissioned a piece by American composer Julie Giroux to commemorate the silver mosaic. The Friends of Fine Arts helped pay for the original piece, “Oh, Beautiful Snow,” that will have its world debut at the mosaic concert and will incorporate the band, choir and orchestra.

Mr. Teague and Ms. Giroux spent quite a bit of time looking for a text that made sense in the context of our holiday mosaic; taking into account who our students are, where we are from a performance standpoint, what kinds of sounds might work, and then she has sort of breathed life into this piece,” Piekarz said.

The coordination of the logistics of the mosaic takes months of planning. The fine arts staff begins looking for songs to showcase as early as January or February and begins the majority of the planning immediately after the end of the fall concerts. 

“[It takes] a lot of coordination between the music faculty. We use a spreadsheet to help coordinate the order of the selections, the positioning of the musicians in the auditorium and the design of lighting cues,” Teague said. “Our faculty believes it is important to program music that represents the diverse cultures of our student body.”

First-year orchestra director Amanda Zall had to learn the many moving parts of coordinating the mosaic concert. Through numerous meetings with the fine arts department, Zall has learned how big of an operation this concert is and what it means to the DGN community. 

“I feel really lucky to be part of it [the mosaic concert] and to be part of this department because they’ve been very helpful with getting me acclimated to the expectations,” Zall said. “I can’t say that I’ve been part of anything quite like this before, but I wish my high school had something like this.” 

Senior acapella choir singer Natalie Mall has been in choir all four years of high school. Mall has been involved with three mosaic concerts, including the 2020 virtual mosaic concert. 

“I always enjoy the mosaic concerts because it gets everyone into the holiday spirit and brings people together,” Mall said. “I am looking forward to the mosaic concert because we have not been able to put the show on in-person for the last two years. We have put so much time and effort into preparing for the mosaic, so seeing it come together will be rewarding.”

Senior percussion and jazz ensemble player Alex Krejca participated in the mosaic concert his sophomore and junior year and enjoys the streamlined, uniting nature of the event.

“I enjoy how there are no breaks in the music; it’s 75 minutes of straight music. Also, the choreography of the lights is really fantastic,” Krejca said. “A lot of community members come to see us so it’s a good way for the community to see different parts of our fine arts department.”

The holiday mosaic concert showcases the talent the fine arts students and staff hold and allows community members to get in the holiday spirit.

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