Choral groups bring drama, class to fall concert

The Geneseo Spectrum Women’s Ensemble and the Geneseo Chamber Singers held their first performances of the year during their Fall Choral Concert in Doty Recital Hall on Oct. 17. Both performances were conducted by director of ensembles Gerard Floriano and accompanied by accompanist in music Linda Boianova and senior Emi Okada on piano. The hall was at maximum capacity, leaving some latecomers to stand for the duration of the performance. The lights dimmed at 8 p.m. and Floriano made his entrance along with the 30 performers that make up Spectrum Women’s ensemble.

Dressed entirely in black, the chorus stood on the risers as Floriano gave a brief overview of the songs that would be performed. Their concert began with John Rutter’s “For the Beauty of Earth,” a soft, flowing piece quickly followed by “Laudate Dominum” by Mozart. This piece filled the hall with swelling crescendos and complex, multi-part harmonies.

The ensemble finished its performance with Baldasare Galuppi’s dramatic, three-part “Dixit Dominus.” This piece was much more intense than the others, starting off with a triumphant, staccato sound and transforming into something much slower and haunting. The final part of the piece returned to the earlier feeling of celebration, with a bolder sound and quicker pace.

The Geneseo Chamber Singers proceeded onto the stage after the Spectrum Women’s Ensemble took its final bow. This group had an entirely different––certainly more dramatic––stage presence. The women were dressed in floor-length, off-the-shoulder, bright red gowns. Equal in sophistication, the men wore tuxedos.

The Chamber Singers began their performance with Brahms’ “Warum.” This highlighted the contrast between the Chamber Singers and the Women’s Ensemble; it was much more operatic and theatrical than anything the first group performed. The Chamber continued with Schumann’s “Das Schifflein,” a calmer number accented by flute and French horn accompaniment and a solo by sophomore soprano Hannah Loo. The next piece, “Salve Regina,” was poignant and evocative with its sweeping harmonies that expressed a feeling of longing.

Eric Whitacre’s modern, experimental piece “Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine” was performed next. The lyrics describe the dreams of Leonardo da Vinci, tortured by a desire to fly. With sounds meant to evoke images of spaceships and wind along with tambourines and a small bell, this was easily the most interesting of the performances as well as the most dramatic.

The concert ended with “Where the Sun Will Never Go Down,” a medley of spirituals and traditional gospel. This was definitely the right choice for the finale. It featured numerous soloists and was entirely a cappella. The piece was bold and soulful, and it seemed that it was the most entertaining for the singers as well.

It was clear that it was an audience favorite, as it was met with huge applause and cheers at the conclusion of the piece. The performances by both groups were extremely impressive. This concert was yet another testament to the amount of talent in the Geneseo arts community.