Cultural themes are not unfamiliar territory for experienced vocalists, and The Kellogg Chamber Singers are no exception, as this show’s theme was “The Music of the British Isles,” which they performed as their final show of the spring quarter.
The Kellogg Chamber Singers and the University Concert Choir performed that Western European archipelago’s musical culture to a full-house at the Music Recital Hall last Thursday, which consisted English, Cornish, Irish, Scottish and Welsh music.
Both groups have done other types of world music before, which previous shows and this current one is primarily directed and conducted by Dr. Niké St. Clair.
“I prepared the choirs to sing it and I am extremely happy and thrilled about the outcome, said St. Clair, professor of musicianship and choral conducting. “I think that the choirs sang beautifully with passion and I hope the audience felt a connection with these pieces.”
The Kellogg Chamber Singers performed first.
Songs ranged from odes, to choral chanting and to a more conventional folk-style a capella performance.
Prior to each performance, St. Clair and several Chamber Singers provided information and context on the piece within its respective culture.
A handful of the performances consisted of both male and female members of the Chamber Choir singing in unison, while other pieces had the singers perform solos.
One piece in particular, the Cornish folk song “I Love My Love” by Gustav Holst showcased the chemistry and dynamics between the members of the Kellogg Chamber Singers.
In this piece the female singers sang their lines while the male singers responded more ambient vocals, vice-versa and revolves back into a single cohesive unit with multiple layers.
Some of the performances included song that are not spoken in the English language.
This includes the Latin ode song “Ave verum corpus,” which featured slow ethereal chanting and the Celtic song “Dúlamán” a brief and fast-paced chanting song that repeats a phrase and a soloist approaches center stage for other lines.
University Concert Choir eventually succeeded the Kellogg Chamber Singers after the intermission to perform their own set of songs.
“I’ll Ay Call in By Yon Town” a Scottish folk song by Mack Wilberg was the opener and a highlight due to its very fast-paced yet cheerful choir singing along a piano duet.
One of the distinctions between the Kellogg Chamber Singers and the University Concert Choir is the sheer amount of members of the Concert Choir – filling a larger array of vocal melodies to the audience.
“Suo Gan” a Welsh folk song by Lance Williford brought back the male Kellogg Chamber Singers for one more performance alongside the male University Concert Choir singers.
The University Concert Choir’s final performance was “Mairi’s Wedding” an Irish folk song by Dave and Jean Perry that specializes more instrumentation through flute, tambourine, bodhran and hand clapping by the choir.
Kellogg Chamber Singers performer Mackenzie Frankl and Adrian Cisneros were audience members of the University Concert Choir that coincided with the former group.
“This was probably one of my most favorite performances that I’ve been able to do,” said Frankl, a fourth-year liberal studies student.
“It was just such a fun repertoire, and we have a lot of really emotional songs, lots of ranges from kind of soft and gentle to really upbeat and exciting,” said Cisneros, a fifth-year engineering student.
“It was the most upbeat out of all them that I’ve been to and I always love like the singing not with words but with sounds and that’s what a lot of these pieces have.”
Students of all majors are able to be a part of the Kellogg Chamber Singers of the University Concert Choir through audition or through the Music Department.
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