The performance by the Women’s Ensemble and College Choir held Sunday April 25 in the Mildred and Earnest E. Mayo Concert Hall reminded the audience why the College is known for its musical talent. To say it was very impressive would be a discredit to the amount of hard work and dedication these students put into their songs.
Dressed in all black and conducted by John T. McDonnell, the Women’s Ensemble was the first to perform. Its sound was clear, focused and seemed to float over the mesmerized audience. Its opening piece, “Rise Up, My Love,” was a great, albeit, accidental way to begin the program, as the accompanist for the planned first piece had yet to arrive. There was an incredible balance between the sopranos and altos.
They then continued with their repertoire which included a classical song from Bach and religious pieces, like “Psalm 100” and “Praise His Holy Name.” The piece, “When I Was In My Prime,” began with a verse in perfect unison which discredited anyone who dares to say singing in unison is an elementary task. Every voice sang with the exact same tone and vowel formation, creating the idea that there was just one singer on the stage.
After the last note had been sung, the Women’s Ensemble left the stage and, after a brief intermission, the College Choir, also dressed in professional black, stepped onto the risers. Their opening piece, “With A Voice of Singing,” introduced the audience to their sound, which was different than the Women’s Ensemble due to the men, who added a certain depth to the choir. “Sanctus Dominus” followed, and it highlighted a small, separate choir which sang a beautiful counter to the complete choir. Two songs by Randall Thompson were sung. The Choir did a marvelous job with it, as well as with the other Thompson song, “The Last Words of David.” The Choir also sang a song usually sung by a tenor in the musical ‘Les Miserables’, “Bring Him Home.” Their choral edition of the piece was beautiful and done very well.? The two most wonderful songs that the Choir sang were “Banks of Doon” and “Make Them Hear You,” with which they ended the concert. Both highlighted fantastically blended harmonies and their dynamics were very powerful. The violinist, Christopher Ciampoli, who accompanied the choir in “Banks of Doon” brought out the full beauty of his instrument and the song. The other highlighted musicians – Erik Romero on drums, Brandon Eldredge on piano and French horn, and Truc-Lan Vu on piano – were also very talented and let the beauty of the voices shine through without compromising their own talent. The main accompanist, Alex Cap, did an exceptional job. He followed the conductor perfectly and played the music with as much passion as the choirs sang it.