On Saturday, Dec. 3, Keene State College performers gathered in the Alumni Recital Hall to showcase their combined musical talents of the college’s concert and chamber choirs.
The show began with a collaboration of both choirs in the Daniel Pinkham version of the famous Christian hymn “Gloria.”
The piece was accompanied by the KSC Brass Ensemble. As the instrumentalist played on stage, the singers stood up and down the aisles, creating a dome of musical sound around the audience.
Sophomore Katherine Neary, who sang in the concert choir, explained what it was like to sing in such a large group with the brass accompaniment.
“It was very different because we don’t have [the brass players] in rehearsals every day. We put it together the week of the concert, but I love the full sound that we get from everything.”
Following the first number, the chamber singers exited and the concert choir began its performance. The choir highlighted its ability to blend their voices in dark, slow moving pieces that gave off an eerie feeling.
One of those pieces, “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Morten Lauridsen, featured soloist sophomore Laurel Mendelsohn and first year Alyssa Taylor. Taylor admitted that she was nervous about her solo, but was able to calm her nerves and perform.
“I did a lot of breathing exercises that we were taught,” Taylor explained. All in all, Taylor said she was happy with her performance and the outcome of the show.
In addition to presenting the works of famous composers, the concert choir sang an arrangement of “Oseh Shalom” created by KSC’s own Dr. Elaine Ginsberg. Ginsberg originally arranged the music as a four-part piece when she was in college. However, ten years ago, she decided to rearrange it into a six-part harmony, which is what the concert choir performed.
Ginsberg stated what it was like to hear her creation come to life on the stage.
“It’s always fun. You know it always makes my heart sort of beat a little faster because I’m sort of at the mercy of the performers, and they did a very good job.”
Following the concert choir portion of the show, the chamber singers showcased excellent skills in staggered breathing, dynamics and rhythmic singing throughout their performance.
The chamber singers also gave student conductors the opportunity to lead a choir in a concert setting. Senior Matthew McGinnis conducted the group in the song “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho” arranged by Moses Hogan, which featured large dynamic swells and precise diction. The song was followed by a roaring applause from the audience, concluding the first act of the recital.
After intermission, both the concert and chamber choirs joined again on stage, performing with the KSC Brass Quintet and the KSC Strings Ensemble.
Keene State Alumna Cynthia Fish, who came to watch her daughter, first-year Kaci Palmacci, sing with the concert choir, expressed her enjoyment of the groups joined pieces.
“I’ve been impressed with the way they have been able to combine all the many voices to make it sound so crisp,” Fish said.
Once the last note rang out, singers filed into the crowded lobby of the Redfern Arts Center to meet smiling friends, family and community members eager to congratulate them on their performance.
Erin McNemar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org