Trio of choirs collaborate

Amelia Perron

Lawrence’s Concert Choir shared the stage Friday, Feb. 16 with the Lawrence Academy of Music Girl Choir, Bel Canto, and the Iowa State Singers, showing the audience three very high quality and very different ensembles.
The three choirs took turns performing their own repertoire, finishing with a collaborative piece between the two university choirs.
Midway through their spring tour, the ISS musicians also spent part of their day rehearsing with LU Director of Choirs Rick Bjella and socializing with LU choir members.
The collaboration was a chance for the two university choirs to expand their musical experience. “The rehearsal was just as valuable as the concert,” Bjella remarked. “It’s a terrific opportunity to grow.”
But it was also partially a social aspect that brought ISS to the Lawrence campus, primarily in the close friendship between Bjella and ISS director James Rodde. “We talk together every week,” said Bjella.
The students enjoyed meeting fellow singers. “We had a lot of time to interact with the Iowa State choir before and after the concert,” explained junior Carolyn Grieco.
“We had arranged to have dinner with them before the concert and afterwards we went back to their hotel to hang out with them. It was just a lot of fun!”
The Bel Canto choir opened the program with a few works, including two folk song settings that gave the young singers a chance to explore different styles. Many pieces offered solos showcasing fine singing.
The LU Concert Choir followed with an exciting program. “This performance included some of my favorite music,” said fifth-year Kim Duncan, mentioning in particular Norman Dinerstein’s “When David Heard.”
The piece concerns the moment when the Biblical King David hears that his son is dead. “The piece is deeply rooted in very intense and real emotions,” Duncan explained.
“The sentiment is loss and grief for a son and Dinerstein’s writing is the perfect vehicle for this vocal outpour of emotion.”
The ISS also had a lot to offer, with top-notch singing and a musically satisfying program.
“Their intonation is fabulous,” Bjella observed, reflecting the sentiment of many concertgoers. “Their dedication to doing great music is so strong.”
Highlights from the program included an arrangement of the spiritual “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel” by Moses Hogan.
“It was a showcase of their ability to vacillate between dynamic extremes, lock into new tonalities instantly upon arrival, and deliver a riveting performance,” said Duncan. “Also, let’s be honest, there ain’t nobody who doesn’t like a good Moses Hogan piece.”
The Concert Choir’s portion of last week’s concert will be repeated and expanded this weekend when they give their “A Century Apart” concert, which will pair pieces that have similar texts but musical settings from different centuries.
After last week’s concert, the energy is running high. “It makes me even more excited for the concert this Friday night,” said senior Erica Hamilton. “I’m really reenergized and looking forward to seeing what we can bring to this next concert.

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