Wadsworth Auditorium was packed with attendees on Friday Oct. 23 as various musicians with diverse talents lent their efforts to welcome and honor newly inaugurated President Denise Battles. “Revelations: A Musical Medley” featured performances of many different styles ranging from lively, Scandinavian polka to sentimental a cappella. The lights dimmed as the concert commenced and both aisles of the auditorium were lined with Geneseo Chamber Singers dressed in red satin dresses and black tuxedos. With music department chair Gerard Floriano conducting, the group sang a poignant performance of Douglas Miller’s “My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord.” The song speaks to the need for strength when you feel like “you’re gonna be tossed by the waves/and the currents that seem so fierce”—possible words of advice for our newly inaugurated president.
After such a serious, inspiring piece, lecturer in music Don Kot and freshman Jessica Murphy performed Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond’s “I Think That He Likes Me.” The song details the nervous experience of a girl trying to discern the signals of a shy boy she likes, singing, “We went for a walk/Too nervous to talk/So maybe he likes me.” The sequence of these two performances provided good contrast and served to illustrate the spectrum of talents that would follow.
Directed by lecturer in music Mark Collins, Geneseo Jazz Ensemble provided an absolutely explosive rendition of Doug Beach’s “Deadly Schmedly” as well as Seymour Simons’ “All of Me.” Geneseo String Band followed, huddled close with spoons, flutes and violins while playing three lively Scandinavian dance tunes while dressed in overalls and top hats.
As String Band exited, curtains opened to sophomore Xiangjing Chen seated alone at the auditorium’s piano. After a few seconds of silence and a quick inhale to focus, her fingers danced up and down the keyboard in a flawless performance of Franz Schubert’s “Impromptu Op. 90, No. 2.”
Halfway through the concert, there was a spiritual awakening with traditional African-American folk songs like “Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho,” “Deep River,” “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” There were no voices to be heard here, however. Instead, Geneseo’s Clarinet Choir—directed by lecturer in music Ernest Lascell—gave a rousing performance of these tunes that are well known for their lyrics, but are seldom regarded for their melodies.
Later in the concert, junior Brianna Kelly and senior Alexandra Imbrosci sang Leo Delibe’s “Flower Duet” from the opera “Lakmè.” Accompanied by David Hurd on piano, the duet stood out as a particularly exceptional choice among all groups.
The concert had its climactic end when Geneseo Percussion Ensemble performed Ed Argenziano’s “Stinkin’ Garbage.” It was anything but stinkin’ garbage though—the drummers beat their instruments and showed great enthusiasm as they looked to one another for cues.
Beginning with church songs and ending with a garbage can orchestra, “Revelations” delivered an assortment of performances to the community to celebrate exceptional diversity and talent with Battles’ inauguration.