Chamber Singers perform songs with great energy and deeper meanings

November 10, 2017

Brandeis Chamber Singers blew the audience away in the Slosberg Auditorium on Sunday, Nov. 5. Under the conduction of Robert Duff, the powerful vocal delivery of each of the 25 members allowed the messages behind every song to be conveyed to the audience with clear, strong emotion.

The Chamber Singers opened their concert with “Will You Harbor Me?” The performance brought out the lower vocal tones that the choir possessed. The song itself conveyed a message that reflects current political times in America. This song was an excellent choice for an opening song because it introduced the concert’s overall theme, as well as serving as a contrast for the more dynamic songs that would be performed later in the concert.

Brandeis Chamber Singers perform in Slosberg

The second song in the program, “Iraqi Peace Song,” featured a very well articulated cello solo by Tianqi Li ’21, as well as solos performed by altos, Rachel Geller ’18 and Miranda Hurtado-Ramos ’19. The dark contrasts performed on the cello by Li and professional keyboard collaborative artist, Daniel Padgett complemented the voices of the solo and the rest of the singers.

The next song was “A Hymn To The Morning,” which was previously sung by the Chamber Singers during their Family Weekend Sample Performance. The background behind the song is fascinating. The lyrics are derived from Phillis Wheatley, a slave who lived in Boston in the mid to late 1700s. Her owners allowed her to learn many elite languages and affairs due to her incredible language skills, including Greek and Latin. As a result, Wheatley was the first African American, and was one of the first women, to publish poetry. The lyrics of this particular song regards the poetic talent by the Greek muses, as if she was asking them to sanctify her works. The opening soprano note of this song immediately captured audience members’ attention. This song was very dynamic, featuring big crescendos followed by soft hums to summarize the song and tie it all together.

“I Am The Great Sun” followed, which also stood out from the rest of the program with the featured dynamics. The whispering in the middle of the song added an interesting twist as well. “Stars” was by far one of the most outstanding highlights of this program. The singers held water glasses to serve as the instruments of the piece. The water glasses created a smoothly continuous, zen sound that really captured the affection of the song, and played off the existence that the song describes.

“The World Of Our Dreams” song preached for peace, featuring well executed solos from BU student Katrina Kwantes on the oboe, Padgett on the piano and soprano Sarah Salinger-Mullen ’19. The final song, “Be For Me The Earth/A New Benediction,” was divided into two parts. The first part featured lower vocal tones while the second part featured contrasting vocals between the bass and the altos. The general ambiance that both parts of the song presented served as a stellar way to close the program.

“Our favorite songs to perform are ‘I Am the Great Sun’ and ‘Stars,” said both Annabelle Hu ’21, an alto singer in the group, and Jensen Clardy ’21, a tenor. Additionally, Hu said, “I also enjoyed singing ‘The World of Our Dreams’ because it reminds me of a tune I learned as a kid.”

Both Hu and Clardy recounted their positive experiences with the Brandeis University Chamber Singers. “This might be sort of cliche, but for me, Chamber Singers is all about making music together. We had an awesome retreat earlier this year where we bonded and sang together. Ever since then, each of our rehearsals has been like a miniature retreat, where I can leave my worries at the door and embrace music in good company,” said Hu.

“I made a lot of friends that I would not have met otherwise,” Clardy added. This positive energy and enjoyment of being a part of the group shines through while they perform. The overall enthusiasm of the singers on stage really enhanced the show. Ultimately, the Chamber Singers delivered an incredible and impressive performance. The conduction, melodic accompaniment vocal variety and solos blended well together to create a superior musical display.

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