A crowd packed into Griffin Concert Hall on Friday night to see a double choral performance, featuring “The Music of Living” by the CSU Men’s Chorus and “The Music of Life” by the University Chorus. The concert presented a theme of religious and spiritual music from different countries of the world, showcasing the diverse musical styles involved in each composition.
The CSU Men’s Chorus opened the concert with “The Music of Living” by Dan Forrest, conducted by Liesl Bryant and accompanied by Madeline Greeb. The song presented a mellow major key, creating an uplifting sound that set up the rest of the performance. According to the concert’s program notes, the repertoire was “a collection of pieces of men’s voices that celebrates unity, brotherhood, and men working together to create beauty and harmony through music.”
“Half of the group was new this semester,” said director Ryan Olsen, “I’m very proud of the progress they’ve made. They’ve grown a lot in preparing for this concert.”
The Men’s Chorus sang a diverse range of compositions, including “Yagi-bushi” by Ko Matsushita. The ensemble integrated stomping and clapping into the performance, creating an engaging environment for the audience.
“These students truly sing for no other reason than because they love it,” Olsen said. “They are the reason that I love directing the group.”
The Men’s Chorus closed the concert with “What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor?” arranged by David Eddleman. The members leaned into each other and gestured at the audience, throwing themselves into characters and giving the song a new level of authenticity.
The University Chorus took the stage for the second half of the concert with “Heleluyan” arranged by Jerry Ulrich. A press release from the University Center for the Arts stated, “The University Chorus [performed] six contemporary sacred Christian pieces from composers of different nationalities including Estonia, Hungary, Norway, Creek Indian, and America.”
Director Stuart Dameron introduced one of the songs as a familiar melody for the audience, as “Eatnemen Vuelie” by Frode Fjellheim was featured in Disney’s “Frozen.”
“The choir members come from the community, from the school, from all majors,” Dameron said. The University Chorus does not require an audition for members to join, and features primarily non-music majors in its ranks.
“The only thing they’ll get from doing this is the experience,” Dameron said, “They don’t get paid or even get credit on their transcripts in some cases. They do it because they’re passionate about it, and that skill can apply to their futures. They learn to find something they’re passionate about and surround themselves with people who have the same mindset.”
“Heaven’s Embroidered Cloths” by Susan Naylor Callaway featured Courtney Pham with a solo flute part. Dramatic dynamic contrast, increases in tempo, and key signature changes brought the song to life before closing the performance with “The Storm is Passing Over” by Charles Albert Tindley. Gloria Choi accompanied the University Chorus throughout the second half of the concert.
Members and faculty of both choirs gathered in the lobby of the UCA following the concert to greet the enthusiastic audience.
Collegian reporter Mckenzie Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mkenziemoore172.