On Sunday, April 14, The Keene State Music Department presented “Chamber Singers” featuring the Cecilia Ensemble and the Keene State Chamber Singers. The show took place in the Redfern Arts Center Alumni Recital Hall from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The show began with a section by the Cecilia Ensemble, followed by the Chamber Singers, and then finished with a performance with both groups singing while Alyssa Becker played guitar in the background.
The part with the two groups singing touched the audience in particular, with two members saying it was their favorite part of the show. Mother of a performer/ audience member Sarah Phillips enjoyed the group performance, saying that she appreciated the mix of styles between both choirs and called it “wonderful.” Another audience member, Jane Quigley, said, “The quality was amazing on both groups and the music, and I found myself smiling through most of it.”
The Cecilia Ensemble directed by Esther Rhoades with Christopher Evatt on piano opened the show with “Three Madrigals,” a work by Emma Lou Diemer. This performance had three parts with I. “O Mistress mine,” II. “Take, oh, take those lips away” and III. “Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more.” After this was “Stone Circles” by Anne Lister and “Love is a Rain of Diamonds” by Gwyneth Walker.
“Love is a Rain of Diamonds” was described by Esther Rhoades as, “really speaking to the essence of treble choral singing.” This was then followed by “I’m Gonna Sing ‘til the Spirit Moves in My Heart” by Moses Hogan. The first part of the show was then closed out with “Stone Rose,” a 5-part piece written by Ola Gjeilo and performed by Vladimir Odinokikh.
After this, The Keene State Chamber Singers came out directed by Sandra Howard, performing “Dixit Dominus from Vespers” with Nicholas So and Ryan Bloomberg [full disclosure: Ryan Bloomberg is a copy editor for The Equinox] on violin and Geoffrey Edwards on cello. The string players then left the stage for “Gott ist Mein Hirt,” a work by Franz Schubert. Then Keene State junior Emily McIntyre came to the front to act as conductor for “Hebe dein Augen” by Felix Mendelssohn. The Chamber Singers then performed a few more songs including “Il est bel et ton” by Pierre Passereau, which Sandra Howard said was about gossiping and is “very tongue-in-cheek.”
According to the Redfern, The Cecilia Ensemble is one of the five choirs that make up the Grand Monadnock Youth Choirs. It is also the region’s premiere high school chorus and only holds rehearsals once a week for 90 minutes. The Keene State Chamber Singers is a group of 14 singers that rehearse twice a week and take part in weekly volunteer activities across the Monadnock region.
Cristian Valentin can be contacted at