Student choirs harmonize classical, folk genres

On Sunday March 9, Spectrum Women’s Ensemble and the Chamber Singers performed a mid-semester choral concert in Doty Recital Hall, marking the fourth consecutive weekend that the new performance space has hosted a musical event.

At the recital, professor of music and choral director Gerard Floriano briefly discussed the music department’s determination to push students to the next level. In accord with this philosophy, senior Benjamin Durland conducted the first piece. Durland is a member of the Chamber Singers but conducted a two-part piece for Spectrum. Accompanied by pianist and adjunct lecturer of music Beata Golec, Spectrum opened with “A Girl’s Garden” and “Come In,” part of the seven-song series “Frostiana” by Randall Thompson.

Spectrum’s second piece was “I Am In Love,” arranged by Alice Parker. This song exemplified the harmonic capabilities of Spectrum, really introducing the ensemble as a powerful choral group.

Its abilities continued to shine as the group performed two a cappella songs. The group sang renditions of “Senkt die Nacht” and “Die Capelle,” arranged by Robert Schumann. For these two songs, the Spectrum members left their risers to stand in the aisles of the recital hall, creating a more personal and intimate atmosphere with the audience members. Through this arrangement, audience members could listen to the individual voices that make up Spectrum, while also hearing how all the voices blend together beautifully.

To finish its portion of the concert, Spectrum ended with two folk songs, “What Do We Plant?” and “Zion’s Walls,” both by composer Aaron Copland. The pieces had fun undertones to them, ending Spectrum’s section with an upbeat mood.

Next, the Chamber Singers filed into the aisles to begin their portion of the concert, performing “Two Graduals” by Anton Bruckner. The group sang a cappella, and like before, the audience got the chance, through a more close-up performance, to hear the individual talents of the singers.

The Chamber Singers took their places on the risers for their second piece, “Cloudburst” by Eric Whitacre. This song exhibited the strength of the Chamber Singers as a unit. They harmonized effortlessly, with sophomores Logan King and Jeremy Jackson and junior Jane Coons shining during solos.

The song took a surprising turn when the choral ensemble began to incorporate musical instruments. Three students stepped down to add the sounds of the cymbal, wind chimes and drum, along with accompanist Linda Boianova. The singing and instrumental accompaniment transformed into a powerful crescendo, the rest of the Chamber Singers snapping and clapping their hands and some using clacker instruments. After creating such a powerful moment within the song, the Chamber Singers finished softly, truly exhibiting their range as singers.

Following this number, the choral group sang the Henryk Górecki piece “Wislo moja, Wislo szara.” This slow song exemplified the beauty of the group’s voices. To end the night, the Chamber Singers performed “With Trumpet and Drum” by James Walker. This piece had staccato emphasis to create a march-like song that left the audience in a loud burst of applause.