Tuning In: Chorale Performs First Concert of the Season
On Saturday, Oct. 14, the Southwestern Chorale performed for friends and family at Faith Lutheran Church. In a beautiful room with high ceilings and tinted windows, choir members sang in black suits with yellow ties and dresses.
The singers arrived early to enjoy the solar eclipse as a group and to rehearse the songs one last time. Students helped set up the attendance tables and gathered in the hallways and snack room to joyfully converse with each other. Once they entered the nave, they practiced vocal warmups with the pianist David Utterback and organist Jim Marriott.
At 2 p.m., the concert officially began, as Choir Director Dr. Holly Dalrymple made a few announcements. Copies of the program were available for guests to flip through and follow along with lyrics. The crowd waited in anticipation in the aisles for the music to begin.
The Treble Ensemble group performed first with the songs “Stabat Mater” by Giovanni Pergolesi and “Where the Light Begins” by Susan LaBarr. Soprano Emma Duncan sang a solo of “Big Lady Moon” by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor in between the performances.
As the Treble Ensemble walked off of the platforms, the Tenor/Bass Ensemble walked on. They sang “O Magnum Mysterium” by Arr. Evan Ramos and “Finlandia (This is My Song)” by Jean Sibelius. Tenor Mack Nixon-Hoxie performed a solo of “Claire de lune, Op. 46, no.2” by Gabriel Fauré between the two group songs.
The Chorale started singing with “He Watching Over Israel” from Felix Mendelssohn’s Elijah and “Lay me Low” by Arr. Kevin Siegfried. Then, mezzo-soprano Makenna Palacio performed a solo of “Spring Waters, Op. 14, no.11” by Sergei Raqchmaninoff.
“A lot of art songs are about love and about everything else, but I liked this piece because it doesn’t have anything to do with love,” Palacio told the audience. “It’s just talking about [how] nature is and how beautiful the world is, so I like that about it.”
The group continued by singing “Soon Ah Will be Done” by William Dawson and “Geistliches Lied” by Johannes Brahms. The last soloist sang in Spanish; tenor Sebastian Fernandez performed “Chiquitita la novia.” To finish the afternoon, the group sang two movements from “Zigeunerlieder, Op. 103” by Johannes Brahms.
As the first concert, choir members got the opportunity to perform in front of a live audience to start the season. This allowed the group to learn to sing cohesively and finetune their technique as individual singers.
The songs shared themes about the journey through life and struggles, as well as empathy and kindness. Some of the songs spanned the idea of the afterlife and salvation. Many of the pieces were originally in another language, so the concert had a diversity of songs from various cultures and genres, including Latin, German, French, Russian, and Spanish.
According to Dalrymple, the space of the church increased the quality and acoustics of the sound. Performing outside of Southwestern also allowed for more community outreach.
“I think it’s really important for students at Southwestern and faculty to engage with the community, and this is a way to do that,” Dalrymple said.
Dalrymple also extended the invitation to be in choir for everybody. No matter your skill level, you can join and learn singing at an academic level.
“I want to remove barriers for people who think that they might do it, but they don’t feel confident to do it or they don’t think they’re invited,” Dalrymple said. “It’s an open door. Anybody can be a part of it.”
The next choir concert will be on Dec. 2 at 2:00 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Fine Arts Center. To stay updated on fine arts events, go to the music events page. For more information on musical ensembles, visit the musical ensembles page.