BY DANIELLE BETTENDORF – STAFF WRITER
A concert featuring Susquehanna’s Choir, Chamber Singers and Chorale groups will take place Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m. in Stretansky Hall.
The pieces included in the program will vary from classical pieces to those written by current composers. Each group will perform their selected works and then perform “The Promise of Living” from the opera “The Tender Land” together.
Julia Thorn, director of Choir and Chamber Singers, said, “The students are really enjoying the music this particular semester because it’s so diverse. I think that the average college student at [Susquehanna] would really find it appealing, and we hope they’ll come out and support their colleagues.”
One of the unique features of the concert will be “improvised movement” during “Bach (Again) Come Sweet Death,” which was arranged by Rhonda Sandberg. The students will sing through the piece one time and then begin the piece again. The second time, the students choose at what speed they sing the piece and move their hands a certain way to their speed of the music.
Thorn said: “It reminds me of, perhaps, what souls look like in heaven moving around on the stage. They’re singing all of this randomly, and it has this ethereal quality to it.”
Each singer comes to the end at their own time and ends with their hands crossed over their heart.
“It all sounds very dissonant in the air because they’re moving through these pitches at their own time, but they all resolve to a perfect triad at the end. It almost sounds like it’s magical, because they come to this chord all together. It’s really effective visually as well as orally, so I think that’s one of the highlights of the concert,” Thorn continued.
The Choir, Chamber Singers and Chorale groups differ in size. This influences each group’s sound, said Thorn. The Chamber Singers, a group of 11, is much smaller than the Choir, which is composed of 40 singers.
Each group’s sound can also vary based on the works they choose to perform.
Junior Cecilia Gigliotti, who participates in Choir, said: “It really depends on the taste of the director. Dr. Thorn usually has us doing a lot of classical and a lot of spirituals. [Chorale Director] Dr. Vodicka has the Chorale do a bit more pop.”
According to Thorn, students have practiced since the beginning of the semester. The Choir rehearses three days a week. Students also practice individually.
Gigliotti said: “Dr. Thorn holds us to a very high standard. She really wants us to be thinking about every aspect of the music at every single moment. She doesn’t allow our minds to wander to go to autopilot for even a second, because the moment that happens our attention is drawn away from the music and the music becomes second to whatever it is we were thinking about. It needs to be in the foreground.”
Thorn said the performance is a part of a state choral music conference, which Susquehanna is hosting.
Students and faculty involved in music from other schools will be in attendance.