Choirs concert to feature “love, light and hope

Kristi Ruff

Lawrence University choirs will perform tonight, Friday Feb. 26, at 8 p.m. The night will be a wonderfully eclectic blend of uplifting works.
Viking Chorale will open the concert with Handel’s “Let Their Celestial Concerts All Unite” from the oratorio “Samson.” This piece’s text exhorts the audience to “let the celestial concerts all unite… sound His praise in the endless morn of light.”
The group will also perform a setting of “i carry your heart with me” by e.e. cummings. This beautiful poem about the “wonder that keeps the stars apart” has been set to music by Z. Randall Stroope.
Cantala’s portion of the concert is titled “Love, Light, Hope” and will consist of six pieces representing these themes respectively. Cantala will open with a three-song set combining “Seeds of Love” by Paul Halley, a piece portraying the story of a young woman whose relationship took a turn for the worse; a setting of “Mad Girl’s Love Song” by Sylvia Plath, a depiction of relationship-related depression; and “There Will Be Rest,” a more hopeful piece that brings a measure of resolution.
The program will continue its uplifting themes with “O Shining Light,” a piece written by Lawrence’s own composition professor Joanne Metcalf in memory of Jennifer Fitzgerald, who taught composition here at Lawrence as an instructor of music before dying of cancer in 2007 at age 32.
Cantala will also perform “Ave Maria” by David MacIntyre. Jaclyn Kottman, a sophomore member of the group, described the piece as a “humbling tribute to the light – and hope – of the spirit.”
Concert Choir will close out the show by singing the traditional spiritual “Hold On” and William Mathias’ “Let the People Praise Thee, O God,” which was commissioned for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, as well as works by Claude Debussy and Eric Whitacre. The Whitacre piece, “When David Heard,” narrates the story of the biblical character of David receiving the news that his son had died.
“The Whitacre piece is really the centerpiece of our Concert Choir program,” said Dan Parks. “It’s both physically draining because of how long it is, and emotionally draining because of how intense the subject matter is. We really get to do everything over the course of this song; stylistically we go through so many different colors that it becomes such an incredible emotional journey.”
Parks emphasized the large scope of styles and colors that the Concert Choir goes through throughout the entire program, including the Debussy piece: “Even between movements of the Debussy, you get to see all the different styles we can sing, and all the different things that the choir can do.”
The LU choirs are sure to stun you with their remarkably well-themed program, fervent passion, and beautiful voices.