The Music Program at Eastern Connecticut State University presented its premier vocal concert of the fall semester on Nov. 22 in the Concert Hall of the Fine Arts Instructional Center. Titled “Eastern Concert Chorale and Friends,” the performance featured the Eastern Chamber Singers, Men’s and Women’s Choirs, Concert Chorale and special guest E.O. Smith Chamber Choir.
“We are delighted to present this concert featuring choral masterworks by great composers such as Brahms, Schumann and Faure, as well as shorter works by great poets like Robert Burns, Robert Frost and E. E. Cummings,” said David Belles, music professor at Eastern and conductor of the Chamber Singers. “It is especially great to invite E. O. Smith Chamber Singers to share the stage this evening!”
The Chamber Singers opened with Cary Franklin’s “The Uncertainty of a Poet” from “With A Poet’s Eye.” The ensemble also performed selections from “Due North” by Stephan Chatman and “My Love’s Like a Red, Red Rose” by David Dickau. The Chamber Singers is Eastern’s premiere vocal ensemble, and is composed of 20-25 auditioned singers. Repertoire performed by the Chamber Singers encompasses chamber music from more than four centuries.
The Men’s Ensemble, conducted by Belles, performed Randall Thompson’s “The Pasture” from “Frostiana” as well as “Bonse Aba,” a traditional Zambian folk song that translates as “All those who sing have the right to be called the children of God.”
The Women’s Ensemble, conducted by music professor Emily Riggs, performed Robert Schumann’s “Windmung,” which translates from German as “Dedication.” The ensemble also performed “Ain’t No Grave Can Hold My Body Down” by Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory.
The two ensembles then combined to perform “I Carry Your Heart With Me” by David Dickau. The Men’s and Women’s Ensembles provide Eastern students with an additional opportunity to participate in a smaller student-only ensemble. Students who sing with the Men’s and Women’s Ensembles are also members of the Concert Chorale.
The concert also included guest performances from the E.O. Smith Chamber Choir, conducted by Amanda Sprague Hanzlik. The ensemble performed “Sicut Cervus” by Giovanni da Palestrina, “Three Madrigals” by Emma Lou Diemer” as well as “Hear My Prayer” by Moses Hogan.
The Concert Chorale presented a variety of choral works, including selections from Brahms’ “Ein Deutches Requiem.” The ensemble also performed “Cantique de Jean Racine” by Gabriel Faure. The Eastern choral ensembles also collaborated with members of the Percussion Ensemble and the E.O. Smith Chamber Choir to perform Carl Orff’s “O Fortuna” from “Carmina Burana.” The Concert Chorale focuses on choral and orchestral masterworks, as well as shorter choral selections. This ensemble is open to Eastern faculty, staff and students, and members of the community.