By Noelle Parades
The Women’s Ensemble and College Choir came together to perform “Choral Landscapes” on Thursday, Oct. 11, which brought pieces of music from all over the world under one roof inside the Mildred and Ernest E. Mayo Concert Hall.
The night began with the Women’s Ensemble, a group of about 20 women dressed in black, whose unaccompanied voices echoed through the hall with angelic harmony. The ensemble was conducted by John Leonard, and according to an ensemble member who gave a brief introduction to the concert, each piece of music referenced the earth in some way.
They performed some of these pieces a cappella, which highlighted the women’s vocal talents. Their voices were also accompanied by a piano and even a xylophone at one point in the performance.
The Women’s Ensemble featured two student conductors, seniors Julianna LoBiondo and Stephani Faljean during their show.
The ensemble’s final two songs displayed the range of its members’ abilities. Their performance of “Shar Ki Ri” involved rhythmic sounds and stomping feet, which added their own percussion to the chorus of voices and was one of the highpoints of the show. The last song prominently featured the talents of the pianist, Stephanie Watson. The song, which talked about “keeping your hands busy” according to a member of the ensemble, certainly did so for Watson as they ran across the keys of the piano flawlessly.
The Women’s Ensemble received a much-deserved round of applause at the end of their part of the concert, then after a brief intermission the College Choir took the stage.
The College Choir is comprised of nearly 50 members from several different majors. The members do not have to be music majors or even audition to be a part of the group.
The choir didn’t miss a beat as they performed songs that featured irregular meters as well as melodies that did not adhere to the typical major and minor scales. Even though the songs they sang were technically difficult, their combined voices made it sound effortless. This performance was made even more impressive after the conductor, Ryan Tibbets, announced that the choir had “learned all of this music in about a month.”
A peak in the College Choir’s performance was the song “I Love My Love.” This song was performed a cappella and split the choir into different male and female parts that mirrored the voices of the lovers in the song.
Another highlight was the last song of night. “J’entends le Moulin” incorporated several sounds in addition to the piano, such as clapping, finger snaps, and an assortment of rhythmic noises, to accompany the voices of the choir.
All the elements of the song blended together with no parts overwhelming the others, which formed an intricate piece of music that finished the show on a high note.
After the show, performers and audience members lingered in the concert hall offering well-earned congratulations to the vocalists who stood out from the crowd in their all black attire.
“This was my first college experience with the choir,” said choir member Sungyuk Yang, freshman music education major. “The level was really different from high school.”
Members of the Women’s Ensemble were also pleased with the overall outcome of the night.
Stephanie Menakis, a sophomore management and psychology double major and also a member of the Women’s Ensemble said, “Both groups really came together tonight to put on a great show for the audience.”