The sound of voices, strings, horns and percussion flooded the night air earlier this month at the combined orchestra and choral concert in Sexson Auditorium.
Opening with Franz von Suppe’s “Light Cavalry Overture,” the orchestra, under the direction of Michael Powers, set the very classical tone for the rest of the evening. Following the piece were renditions of the intermezzo from “Hary Janos” by Zoltan Kodaly, the ever popular “Hungarian Dance no.5” by Johannes Brahms, and the first movement from Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony no. 6.
Despite a smaller orchestra this semester compared to previous groups, the group retained a tight-knit sound thanks to Powers’ choice of selections for their half of the concert.
“It was more of a chamber orchestra this semester, so I found works that worked really well for the strengths of the people that we had, so a mix [of] some Suppe, some Kodaly, Brahms, Beethoven, how could you go wrong? A little Mozart, it’s like the whipped cream and cherry on top,” he said referencing the later selections with the choir.
The massive choral entity of the concert choir, chamber singers and madrigals joined the orchestra onstage for the ending of the concert, a small tribute to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, though choir director Donald Brinegar joked at the irony of his selections for the performance since it was on Johann Sebastian Bach’s birthday, though none of his works were played during the night.
Rounding out the hour long concert, the musicians on the crowded stage played “Ave Verum Corpus,” “Lacrimosa,” and “Regina Coeli,” all composed by Mozart. The combined effort on “Lacrimosa” proved to be the highpoint of the night, the sheer intensity and energy unmatched by any other piece.
“Being on stage [with the orchestra], you don’t even pay attention that the audience is there just because you’re so into the music,” said Jasmine Gramajo, member of the concert choir. “You’re just so fixated on being into the music and lose yourself in it.”
For Daniela Portales, working as part of a larger musical group creates a familial unit although the means of making music differs between the orchestra and choirs.
“It’s more of a conversation we have with the orchestra,” she said. “I feel like we become one and you know, they hear us and we communicate to them in words, and they communicate to us in music and it makes this one big ‘ole family.”
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