Geneseo Chamber Singers’ and the Spectrum Women’s Ensemble’s voices resonated throughout Doty Recital Hall and sent chills to audience members at their latest performance.
The event was in fact so well attended on Sunday Oct. 22 that everyone could not easily fit in the seats, leaving many to stand off to the side. Sponsored by Geneseo’s Department of Music, the concert was an incredible showcase of musical voice talent.
The Spectrum Women’s Ensemble kicked off the concert under the direction of adjunct professor of music Amy Cochrane with adjunct professor of music Wan-Ling Chuang on piano. They began by singing in a semi-circle, performing Thomas Morley’s “Leave Now Mine Eyes Lamenting,” and followed with Robert Schumann’s “Der Wasserman.”
Their third performance was of Francis Poulenc’s “Petites Voix,” a four-part children’s song. “La Petite Fille Sage,” the first part in the series, was sung angelically by the female singers. The third and fourth parts, “Le Petit Garcon Malade” and “Le Hérisson” featured a range in tempo and variations of notes.
The final song performed by the Spectrum Women’s Ensemble was Roger Whittaker’s “I Am But a Small Voice” with the talented soloist sophomore Julia Tellerman. It was a very refreshing and uplifting song and ended with a very high note.
Directly after the female singers, the Geneseo Chamber Singers took the stage with Director of Choral Activities, Chair of the Department of Music and professor of music Gerard Floriano, who holds a doctorate in music, with adjunct professor of music Chiao-Wen Cheng on piano, who has a doctoral degree from Eastman School of Music. They began with Clément Janequin’s “Au Joly Jeu,” and their mouths moved articulately to go along with the notes. Soloist baritone senior Noah Chichester powerfully sung out in Irving Fine’s “Design for October.”
A highlight of the afternoon was the performance by adjunct professor of English and music at Geneseo, adjunct professor at the Eastman School of Music and Scholar-in-Residence at Paul Smiths College Glenn McClure’s piece, “Tremble.”
McClure explained to the audience that his piece was inspired by his 40-day trip to Antarctica, where he received a National Science Foundation Artists and Writers Fellowship for his “Music in the Ice” project. “Tremble” directly references the ice shelf vibrations that come from seismic graphs when testing the structural integrity of the ice.
The performance of McClure’s piece was especially distinct because the singers gathered around the audience instead of onstage. The song began with a very low, almost sinister piano tune, and then soloist seniors Madi Kemler, Gretta Cavatassi, Jennifer Bender and juniors Sarah Ploof, Kate Keller and Maria Floriano led the rest of singers in the chilling piece. The ensemble made “ch” sounds, representing the ice breaking. The whole experience left the audience in shivers, and it very accurately represented McClure’s purpose in writing the song.
“Being the first ensemble to perform ‘Tremble’ by Dr. Glen McClure was truly an honor for all of us.” Geneseo Chamber Singers soprano senior Kamra Phillips said.
“Too often, science and art are seen as opposing things, but it’s pieces like ‘Tremble’ that remind us that truly science and art enhance one another,” she continued.
“Tremble” was a favorite of audience members as well.
“It was really cool to hear the talent of my Geneseo peers,” English major freshman Lara Mangino said. “My favorite song would have to be [Tremble] ... It was really cool that they were able to turn ... the shaking of the tectonic plates into music that we could hear.”
Following McClure’s piece, Tom Scott’s “Go Down Death” featured tenors and soloists senior Matthew Burley and sophomore Brett Hammes. The last song, “Rockin’ Jerusalem” arranged by Stacey V. Gibbs, definitely left an impact with the audience as it had many catchy tunes and a steady beat.
The Geneseo Chamber Singers and the Spectrum Women’s Ensemble put on a beautiful performance, which rightfully received an incredible standing ovation when the show came to a close. Their spectacular talent made a fall Sunday afternoon a delight as they brought immense meaning to the music they shared.u