The University of Maine Collegiate Chorale and Chamber Choir both performed for a large crowd Nov. 17 in Minsky Recital Hall.
The Collegiate Chorale opened with “Sing We and Chant It,” composed in the 16th century by Thomas Morley.
After the first piece, conductor Justin Zang, a third-year graduate student of music with concentrations in music conducting and vocal performance, introduced the piano accompanist:Clayton W. Smith, a staff accompanist for the School of Performing Arts.
“I can throw anything at the guy, and he’ll play it,” Zang said.
The second song they sang was “Ave Verum Corpus,” a slower song composed by Mozart in the 18th century. Before each song, Zang gave a brief description of the song and how he chose it. He described the third song, “Kyrie Eleison,” composed by Audrey Snyder, as “quite a simplistic piece … It really grabs me with some of its lush chords.”
“Do Lord, Remember Me,” a spiritual, barbershop piece that involved snapping, and “The Awakening” completed the first part of the concert.
The chorale exited the risers and a few minutes later, the members of the Chamber Choir entered to sing “Quick! We Have But A Second” and “A Farewell.” The Chamber Choir’s director is Allisen Donovan, a fourth-year vocal education and performance student. Sierra Venutra, a third-year vocal music education student was the piano accompanist for the choir.
Donovan and Ventura rejoined the rest of the chorale members to sing “Animal Crackers Vol. 1,” composed by Eric Whitacre, with a dramatic reading by Ludlow Hallman. The audience found this piece particularly comical for its lyrics.
According to Zang, even the Collegiate Chorale was laughing during rehearsals, but they eventually learned to keep a straight face.
Next, they sang “The Ground,” composed by Ola Gjeilo. The song required a string quartet. Students Perla Fernandez played first violin, Morgen Campbell played second violin, Norah Bird played viola and Marisa Solomon played cello. It was this collaboration that made the piece Zang’s favorite to work with.
“[I’m] so fortunate to be in a department so full of amazing talent,” Zang said.
Donovan conducted the next piece, “Dirait-on” by Morten Lauridsen and Zang took a spot in the risers to sing with the group. “Dirait-on” is a softer piece in French. For the final song, the Collegiate Chorale sang “Music Down in My Soul,” Donovan’s favorite piece. Zang warned the audience members beforehand that this song may make them want to get up and dance. For this piece, the singers put down their folders and clapped. Everyone was clearly enjoying themselves.
One chorale member, Ryan Pottle, a fifth-year music and new media student, said to an audience member after the concert, “Zang brought the Collegiate Chorale from here, to here,” raising his hand from mid chest, then above his head.
The Collegiate Chorale has been practicing since the beginning of fall semester for this concert, and Zang was happy with the results: “It’s an absolutely fantastic, great group. They really just dug down deep and brought it.”
The Collegiate Chorale will be featured at the Yuletide Concert, Dec. 2 from 2 to 4 p.m., and the next concert is scheduled for April 13.