Our annual service of "Lessons & Carols" was performed this past Saturday at the Clermont Performing Arts Center to nearly standing room only audiences. The show had many memorable performances that rang in the holiday season with style. It was yet another successful year for “Lessons & Carols.”
Two very talented, well-known artists Ben Gulley, an American operatic grande tenor, and Goitsemang Lehobye, a South African soprano, were featured throughout, lending their beautiful voices to the production. The Montverde Academy Choir, the Central Florida Vocal Arts Choir and the First Unitarian Church of Orlando Choir inspired the audience with moving renditions of classic Christmas music. The Montverde Academy Children’s Choir also impressed the audience with their performance. The MVA string trio comprised of Mariana Valderrama-Alvarez (Violin), Lauren Kiernan (Viola) and Yilin (Selina) Xu (Cello), performed “Il Est Né,” arranged by Catherine McMichael.
The songs performed include “Do You Hear What I Hear” by Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” by 15 Century Plainsong, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, “Go Tell it on the Mountain,” “Joy to the World,” and more to invoke the Christmas spirit. The lessons were delivered by Montverde Academy faculty including Dr. Kasey C. Kesselring, Dr. David Rath, Coach Kevin Boyle, Coach Mike Potempa, Ms. Meristell Shackelford, Mr. Paul Quick, Mr. David Bernatavitz, Mrs. Marcia Bernatavitz, Mr. Brad Long, Mr. John Weaver, Mr. Dean Bell, Mrs. Gina Mobley, as well as Carolina Chavez, MVA student head prefect, shared the lessons with a full audience. Mr. Harold Mills, President of the MVA Arts Alliance and Booster Club; Mr. Jim Purvis, Clermont City Council, Seat 2; and Mr. Sean Parks, Lake County Commissioner, were also featured speakers.
Overall, this year’s "Lessons & Carols" was the best one yet. Montverde Academy would like to thank everyone who helped make this night possible – the student technicians, production staff, readers, administrators, and Ben Gulley and Goitsemang Lehobye. This night was a night to remember that completely enthralled audiences. "Lessons & Carols" always makes Christmas extra special and this year was outstanding.