Hannah Walker

Copy Editor


Starting promptly at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9 the sound of applause broke the hushed murmurs of the audience at the KSC Concert Choir’s rendition of Handel’s “Messiah.”

According to the program notes,  “Messiah” was composed in Britain during the waning interest in opera in 1741. The first London performance took place a year after the premiere; however popularity did not catch on until 10 years later.

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Today, “Messiah” has been performed countless times and translated into many languages.

With all that history behind them, the members of the KSC Concert Choir were successful in their attempts to convene both the emotions of the piece–ranging from exaltation to deep sorrow–and in their ability to hit the seemingly impossible high and low notes.

The first song, “Sinfonia,” was performed entirely by the orchestra. The orchestra featured such instruments as cello, bass, trumpet, timpani, harpsichord, and viola. With the rich sounds of stringed instruments accompanying it, the choir began to sing its first song, “Comfort ye my people.”

The first notes sung during this song caught the audience’s attention immediately and resonated off the walls of the Alumni Recital Hall.

Kirk Bobkowski, tenor, stepped up to begin his first solo of the night.

The tone of the piece allowed Bobkowski to showcase his classically styled vocals, those that involved much jumping between pitches and slurring. After his solo the choir again sang in unison, ringing off the walls and ceiling.

Each section maintained its own part, while the combined effect was a round. The soprano section featured incredibly high notes, while the tenor, alto, and bass sections filled out the rest of the sound.

Kerri McCormack, alto, stepped forward to begin her own solo on “Behold, a virgin shall conceive.” Although her performance was markedly different from Bobkowski’s in terms of sound, she too managed to capture the essence of the tone as she sang in a relatively low, hushed voice.

After this piece, the mood of the music shifted to tell the story found in “For behold, Darkness shall cover the earth.” David Parker, bass, came to the front to sing, “The people that walked in darkness.”

His deep, booming voice complimented the grave tone created by the orchestra section.

Parker started out low and worked up to the famous sound found in classical vocals–the intricate slurs and long notes.

Playing off his vocals, the orchestra featured short, staccato notes in the violin section.

After Parker’s solo, Jess Mahoney, soprano, approached the conductor’s stand to solo in her own way. As she conducted the choir and orchestra in “For unto us a child is born,” the full choir expressed the joy found in the piece through their voices, while the timpani joined in. Heather O’Conner was featured in her own solo in “And suddenly there was with the angel.”

It was clear from O’Conner’s free movements and facial expressions that she fully enjoyed this song and intended for the audience to feel this.

The tone of these songs contrasted sharply to the sorrowful sounds featured in the previous arrangements.

After this piece the full choir sang for “Glory to god,” and then Emily Reed, soprano, started her solo. Her voice, featured in the song “Rejoice greatly, O daughters of Zion,” was well-suited for the lightness of the song. Reed’s tone was softer, less extravagant, and less ornamental.

However, it offered great contrast to the rest of the soloists. Mahoney stepped up to sing her solo in “Come unto him,” and it was clear that her voice matched the high notes, which she performed beautifully.

After an incredibly high ending, she joined the choir and again the choir sang a round.

Applause broke out, as the lights rose for a 15-minute intermission, and the audience was eager for more.

As the lights dimmed again the choir and orchestra came out to a round of applause.

The second half of the show was as strong as ever and featured more talented soloists.

In “He was despised,” Lauren Weiner, alto, showcased her surprisingly low voice.

Using the orchestra as something off of which to play, her tone matched the emotion that the song was trying to convey.

As Weiner stepped back, Eric Roy, tenor, stepped forward. His solo, “Behold, and see if there by any sorrow,” was somewhat timid; however, the backing of choir at the end filled out the piece.

Bobkowski stepped forward for his second solo and again captured the audience’s attention with a voice trained for this style of music.

The full choir joined in and harkened back to the sounds at the beginning of the show, using the refrain from “For unto us a child is born.”

Samantha McCloghry, soprano, was then featured in her solo, “How beautiful are the feet.” Her voice, like the voices of all the soloists, matched the tone of the song.

Mahoney again stepped forward to conduct the famous “Hallelujah” chorus; the audience followed tradition started by King George II and stood up. Following this song, Nicole Laperriere, soprano, sang classically and delicately, “I know that my redeemer liveth.” Robert Skrocki then stepped forward for his solo in “Then shall be brought to pass.”

As his song ended McCloghry, Weiner, and Bobkowski again stepped forward to join SKrocki in “But thanks be to God.” All of their voices meshed well together in this a capella song.

Closing the night out, the entire choir and orchestra sang in rounds of “amen,” in the song, “Worth is the Lamb.” As the last notes were hit, the audience began to cheer and applaud; culminating in a standing ovation for the KSC Concert Choir.


Hannah Walker can be contacted at hwalker1@ksc.mailcruiser.com


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