“Consider yourself at home,” welcomed the Fort Hays Singers as they interspersed throughout the small crowd in the basement meeting room of the First United Methodist Church.
The tune from the Broadway musical “Oliver!” was one of the seasonal sounds the Fort Hays State University ensemble offered to patrons of its second-annual Holiday Dessert Show, "Songs of the Seasons."
Dressed in costume, the 17 singers surrounded their guests with sound, at times in typical choral formation at the front of the room under the lights, and other times circling the room or positioning themselves among the tables lit by small star-shaped lights in the centerpiece.
“I really love these costumes,” Raeanna Peacock, a Hays senior, said.
“These were pulled from when we used to do our Madrigal Dinner. Dr. Crull wanted to bring a similar atmosphere that had carols the community was aware of and make it more of an intimate show, bring a festive atmosphere for everyone to just enjoy a warm holiday,” she said.
“When we perform, we’re usually in our polos and our dress slacks, so its’ nice to get to wear a costume and get in the spirit of Christmas,” Cody Kreutzer, Hays senior, said.
In between sets, the ensemble members served desserts and snacks appropriate to each season of the year — chips and dip and cookies for summer, or a brownie and peppermint stick for winter, for example.
The show was started last year as a fundraiser for the FHSU Singers trip to Austria and Germany.
“The kids enjoyed the crowds and we thought we’d do it again,” Terry Crull, FHSU director of choral activities, said.
The show will again raise funds for the Singers’ 2019 tour, which will be a regional tour over part of Thanksgiving break, including some of the ensemble members’ hometowns, Crull said.
Peacock and Kreutzer said the trip to Europe was memorable.
“I think it introduced us to not just culture, but also introduced us to our origins of music,” Peacock said.
“I had never been to Europe before, so to get to go with my best friends was one of my favorite parts I have gotten to experience at Fort Hays, period,” Kreutzer said.
The support from the community through the show was also appreciated by the students.
“We really appreciate everybody taking time out of their day, buying tickets to come and support us. It shows that what we’re doing means something to people,” Kreutzer said.