Chorus groups demonstrate talent with intricate pieces

The Spectrum Singers (pictured above) and the Geneseo Chamber singers performed in the fall chorus concert “Interludio musicale d’autumno” on Sunday Oct. 21. The songs they sang varied from the Spanish song “Portones Abiertos y Rostros Brillantes” to a Bob Dylan arrangement (Catherine White/editor-in-chief).

Attendees time travelled through different eras with different languages, listening to  beautiful harmonies in a chilly Sunday afternoon concert. 

The Geneseo Chamber Singers and the Spectrum Singers performed their fall concert “Interludio musicale d’autunno” on Sunday Oct. 21 in Doty Recital Hall. The lack of chairs failed to deter listeners who overflowed the aisles enthusiastically awaiting the coming choral performances.

The Spectrum Singers, conducted by Spectrum Singers director Amy Cochrane and accompanied by adjunct professor of music Wan-Ling Chuang on the piano, was the first of the two groups to perform. 

The women began the concert by standing in the aisles as they sang “Three Choruses” arranged by Gilbert and Sullivan. The song contained three movements and was not only an audience favorite, but some of the singers’ as well. 

Alto junior Miranda Felong of the Spectrum Singers enjoyed the flourishes of the pieces.

“I liked ‘Dance A Cachucha’ definitely, but I also like [‘Braid the Raven hair’],” Felong said.

Alto senior Lauren Plevy echoed Felong’s sentiment for “Braid the Raven hair” because of its message and solo.

 “The song is about preparing a bride for her wedding day,” Plevy said. “We had Rosa [Lanausse] do the solo and she was great.”

Spectrum sang “Drei chorlieder” arranged by Johannes Brahms next. Both Felong and Plevy stressed that the German piece was the most challenging.

“There are a lot of parts we’re not used to doing,” Felong said. “There are a lot of high to low parts so finding the pitch was a little tricky.” 

Plevy mentioned how the four part-harmony made the piece challenging.

“Also, it’s split into four different parts,” Plevy said. “We’re not always used to singing alto 1 or alto 2.” 

The final piece for the Spectrum Singers was “Blowing in the Wind/America” written by Bob Dylan and arranged by Len Thomas. The piece featured the lyrics of two songs. First the songs were sung individually, then the lyrics were interwoven.

After the Spectrum Singers performed beautifully, the Geneseo Chamber Singers took the stage led by Geneseo Chamber Singers director Gerard Floriano and accompanied by Alfred University adjunct performing arts professor Kurt Galvan.

The choir began with “Portones Abiertos y Rostros Brillantes” arranged by Paul Basler. Alto freshman Madelynn Maiolo enjoyed singing the Spanish song.

“My favorite was ‘Portones Abiertos y Rostros Brillantes’ because I personally just love singing in Spanish and I think it had a great piano part,” Maiolo said. “Everything was just really great and it’s different from all our other ones.”

The chorus then sang “Elohim Hashivenu” by Salamone Rossi in Hebrew and “Quatre Motets (sur des themes Grégoriens)” by Maurice Duruflé in Latin. Maiolo believed these songs were more challenging than the others.

“The most difficult pieces weren’t our longest pieces, they were actually the shorter ones we had to have memorized,” Maiolo said. “They were probably the hardest ones because of the memorization and it was earlier in the year so a lot of us weren’t in focus mode.” 

The choir then sang “Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine” by Eric Whitacre, which bass sophomore Max Wesner believed was the hardest.

“It’s a very unique piece. It doesn’t flow as what you’d expect it to flow like a normal. There’s so much to it,” Wesner said. “It tells a story, like how Dr. Floriano was saying. [DaVinci] is tormented by not being able fly. Then he pursues it and the flight [occurs].”

The group ended in the aisle, mirroring how the Spectrum Singers began the concert. They sang “The Battle of Jericho,” a spiritual piece arranged by Moses Hogan that ended with a standing ovation and continuous applause.

“It’s just a fun, energetic piece that we all get really into. [Dr. Floriano] always tells us to get really into it and use our bodies,” Wesner said. “It’s a different atmosphere with that song. I feel like most of our songs are really professional, but I feel like with that song we can take it easy.”