The Paw Print
On Friday, Nov. 4, the Adams State College Concert and Chamber Choirs delivered a spectacular performance at the Sacred Heart Church. The choirs performed works by Ola Gjeilo, W. A. Mozart, Gian Carlo Menotti and female Renaissance composer, Raphaela Aleotta. The concert included English and American folk songs, music from South Africa, songs about cats and unicorns, and settings of wonderful texts by Shakespeare and Alfred Lord Tennyson. Amazingly, though little advertising was done, Sacred Heart Church was full.
The Chamber Choir performed Egos flos campi, a motet by Raphaela Aleotta and said to be one of the the earliest known published collection of sacred music by a woman composer, and did a stupendous job with it. Dr. Robison began the piece with a few of the singers standing on the steps to the altar. They began the piece and then, much to the surprise of the audience, the rest of the choir joined in from their perch above the audience. The song truly was beautiful and the minute they started, the audience was captivated.
A favorite piece by the Chamber Choir had to have been Second Madrigal from The Unicorn, The Gorgon and The Manticore by Gian Carlo Menotti. This piece was a favorite because it was fun. The sound was upbeat and the lyrics were enticing, plus the choir looked like they were having fun with it.
Chamber Choir’s closing piece, Shenandoah which is a traditional Chantey arranged by Gregg Smith, delivered the same amount of energy as any of the previous pieces. Shenandoah tells the story of a roving trader in love with the daughter of an Indian chief; in this interpretation, the rover tells the chief of his intent to take the girl with him far to the west, across the Missouri River. The song is also associated with escaped slaves. They were said to sing the song in gratitude because the river allowed their scent to be lost.
The next choir to perform was Concert Choir. They opened up with a traditional South African folk song, Tshotsholoza (Shoh-shoh-loh-zah). Tshotsholoza is a song of freedom and was often sung by the ancient miners who toiled in the South African diamond and gold mines. The choir, marched in the aisle while singing Tshotsholoza and then took their places. Overall it was an amazing piece. Concert choir delivered it with much enthusiasm.
One song, Sigh No More Ladies by Gary Walth with words by William Shakespeare from ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, was performed beautifully. The play, Much Ado About Nothing, takes place in Messina, a port on the island of Sicily. The men of the city were sailors, “one foot in sea, and one on shore”. The song could be addressing how young men of the city, who promise their young loves marriage and a settled life, will not give up the sea. Then again, it could be (and probably is) about the infidelity of these men, though those meanings are not in any way exclusive. The line “let them go” can also be taken one of two ways. Either the singers are counseling women to remove these men from their lives and move on, or that they should “let them go” and have their fun while the womenfolk stay at home, waiting “blithe and bonny” for their menfolk’s return. This song is in some ways terribly ironic, as when the men of ‘Much Ado’ believe Hero to have been a “deceiver”, they have no sighs, nor any “hey nonny, nonny” but rather publicly humiliate and condemning the girl without even giving her a chance to defend herself. The contrast is well made, accentuating the double standard of the time.
The choir concert was enjoyable and under the direction of Dr. Beth Robison, the next one will be as well.