Under Professor Sara Blessing, the choir has had immense success with their professionalism and togetherness. They are going on tour this semester and are being recognized for their achievements this semester. This concert provided an excellent outlet for the Graceland choirs to show off their chops and really impress people through their use of wonderful soloists and ensemble works. Graceland has three choirs: Chamber, Concert, and Combined.
The first two pieces were from the combined choirs. The first, Salmo 150, showed off the choir’s talent with difficult imitative sections and a nice blend of voices. There was also a very nice counterpoint between the bass and alto singers, providing for an interesting and complex piece. The next piece featured soloist Alexander Richt and Jack Ergo on piano. A familiar hymn, this piece was performed in a solemnly traditional way, highlighting the male voice. The soloist did an incredible job.
The next choir to come on stage was the Concert Choir, performing three pieces. They started with a soothing and moving piece called A Red, Red Rose by James Mulhollond that was performed with delicacy. They then moved on to a slow and melancholy Brahms piece. Minor chords could be heard throughout providing a tension begging to be released. The third piece was a hilarious group of movements called Animal Crackers Vol. 1 by Eric Whitacre. The three movements were followed by the reading of poems about animals, and then sung in a funny and dramatic way.
The Chamber singers brought to life more beautiful music, starting with a lovely little German piece. This piece put focus on the upper register for the melodies, with the lower voices sustaining full, long tones. After that was Flower of Beauty by John Clements. This piece began with a unison that faded in and out with harmony and grace. The Graceland choirs are a truly moving group of singers. Next for them was another Whitacre piece. The choir began with a series of powerful chords followed by a fast, almost staccato section. This was a wonderful performance by the Chamber singers.
For the last three pieces, the choirs joined forces again to bring the audience to a moving finale. The first began with a powerful entrance enhanced by the use of decrescendo. The singers provided a stark contrast of dynamics that created the effect of strong winds blowing through trees. Next was a cheerful, folky style piece that featured instrumentalists Widalys Cruz on basoon, Brad Benson on violin, Daniel Rose on banjo, and Robert Donarski on bass. This piece had a happy bluegrass sound and the instrumentalists did a fantastic job. For the last piece, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, the choir encircled the auditorium seating, almost to embrace the audience before performing. The piece showed off the magnificent organ in the Shaw auditorium and was a lovely and intimate way to end a great concert.
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