Lawrence choirs to perform here and in Madison

Chris Laurberg

Coming up on the 27th of this month, the Lawrence University choral groups will perform in their fourth installment of the “Around the World in Fifty Minutes Concert.” The chorale, women’s choir, and concert choir will all be performing in Memorial Chapel starting at 8:00 p.m. This year brings a new variety of pieces from across the globe with a finale combining the three groups with a brass ensemble. In previous years, this concert has focused on music from certain locales or styles, such as last year’s motif of South American pieces. This year, a variety of songs and anthems will be performed with folk and sacred song sets from several continents. Also on the program are some interesting individual numbers such as a wordless choir piece by the Norwegian composer Nils Lindberg and the growing musical cell in “Jing-ga-lye-ya,” along with a very descriptive two-part song called “Morning and Evening.” The women’s choir will perform several Bulgarian and Swedish songs. The finale will be “I’m Seventeen Come Sunday,” for which the combination of choirs and brass will be made.

Two of the pieces listed do stand out as particularly moving, says Richard Bjella, who conducts the chorale and concert choir. These are “Broken Pieces” and “Prayer for the Children.” “Broken Pieces” is a powerful Latvian poem that is appropriate for the times in America, according to Bjella. “Prayer of the Children” was composed by a man who was working in a hospital in war-torn Bosnia. This will be performed by the men of the concert choir.

The women’s choir will also be performing some of the same songs from this concert at the Wisconsin Music Educators Association Convention. It is a great honor for the women’s choir to be invited to present at this state-wide convention in only their second year of existence. The group begins at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25, at the Minonah Terrace Convention Center in Madison, where the convention is to take place.

David Erb, the women’s choir conductor, says that the group is looking forward to the event while working hard in the meantime. The comparatively late start of classes is forcing the choir to work overtime, but such an opportunity will not be passed up. Thirty-eight Lawrence students from a variety of majors will put on a show for at least 500 music educators, music education students, and fellow performing groups from all over Wisconsin. The convention itself will last Oct. 24-27.