Christmas came early to APSU with While Shepherds Watched by David Steinquest & Friends. Spectacle, music, ambiance, humor and pure unadulterated talent characterized the program taking place in the George and Shannon Mabry Concert Hall. The show enticed APSU students, family and friends of past audience members with convenient access to the event through positive word of mouth.
The Christmas concert, which started in 2010 with the intention of bringing different schools together, later became a more intimate event where professor of percussion David Steinquest, conductor of the Percussion Ensamble and Jazz Combo, made collaborative music with loved ones and friends.
“I would do this alone because it is fun,” Steinquest said. “Now, performing with great people you love only makes it better.”
This year’s concert proved to be more difficult than in previous years, since the band and the percussion ensemble had not met and played together in a while due to “convoluted” scheduling. Instead, they met the day before, and practiced the day of the show.
The average audience member would not know this however, as the two forced blends in a succinct fashion.
“We inadvertently prepared the percussion ensemble full of students for the real world,” Steinquest said. “When making music, not everyone is available all the time.”
A lot of the music performed in the concert was exclusive because it came from the Christmas album titled “While Shepards Watched.” All the music from the album was featured during the show, peppered with the Christmas classics we know and love.
“We featured all our songs because if you like what you hear, you know what you are buying” Steinquest said. “If you hate what you hear, you will not waste your money.”
The song writing process for both David and Allison Steinquest comes naturally, with David being more proficient with percussion and Allison providing the vocals.
The duo remarked that their Christmas album promoted at the concert was not meant to happen, but was birthed out of fortunate circumstances where one thing led to another.
“We live 45 minutes away from campus,” Allison Steinquest said. “There is plenty of time to brainstorm and get inspired during the drive.”
The Steinquests are not the only ones who sacrificed an ample amount of gas to come visit the show. Mike and Cynthia Newman drove from Memphis, Tennessee, to attend the concert.
The show was recommended two years ago by another family whose son was in the APSU percussion ensemble, and they have been coming since.
“Not only is this affordable for us, we just have a blast,” Cynthia Newman said. “The energy in the room is worth the trip.”
It is the positive word of mouth that has propelled the Christmas concert to being what it is today. Very few APSU students can be spotted alone in the audience. Instead, they come with friends and family who also bring their friends.
“[This show kicks] off Christmas for so many people,” Allison Steinquest said. “To have such a following as we do today is worth the entire year it took to make the album.”