Choir Concert graces Boutell Memorial Concert Hall

By Jacob Roushia

DeKALB — At 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall in the Music Building, the Ensemble Recital was performed. 

The Concert Choir, Chamber Choir and the University Chorus performed at the first Ensemble Recital Series of the Fall 2019 season. Eric Johnson was the conductor for the choir groups, and Dr. Mary Doherty conducted the University Chorus. 

The recital started off with the Chamber Choir’s performance of various types of music. Hyounkyoung Kim, the accompanist, played the piano during all performances. 

The first two songs were written by Renaissance composers Jubilate Deo and Orlando Di Lasso. The first couple songs were not in English, but the meaning behind the songs rang true. 

The remaining songs from the chamber’s set pertained to love and romance. The songs were composed by Libby Larson, Karen Morrelli and Bjorn Drage. During one song, Aaron Adams played a soprano saxophone to accompany Chamber Choir, along with Kim on piano. Once Chamber Choir was done, they took a seat in the audience while the University Chorus took the stage. 

The University Chorus impressively did not read from a musicbook while they were performing their set. 

Instead they performed from memory. The set began with a song called “Gloria, from Paukenmesse,” composed by Franz Hayden.

The group then went on to perform three madrigals that took three different excerpts of dialogue from William Shakespeare’s plays and transformed them into song. 

The plays were “Twelfth Night,” “Measure for Measure” and “Much Ado About Nothing.” The William Shakespeare addition was a fun inclusion for any literary fans. The final performance was “Salmo 150” by Emani Aguiar.

Once the University Chorus finished their songs, they went into the audience. The Concert Choir, who also had members from Chamber Choir, went on stage. 

The Concert Choir was the biggest of the groups and took up the whole stand while on stage. James Gibson also played percussion alongside Kim during the Concert Choir’s songs. 

The group started with two songs about taking a journey of the soul and saying goodbye. 

These songs were written by composer Abbie Betinis, who was nominated and won several awards for her work, including the American Composer award in 2005 and the McKnight Artist Fellowship award in 2015. 

The next song, which had an emotional impact, was written by Jake Runestad and is called “We Can Mend the Sky.” It pertained to poems that the artist read from children that migrated from Somalia. It described the violence that the children escaped and the importance of accepting immigrants. It delved into the emotional and political side of the issue. Rachel Hunter-Rosene and Linda Govea both performed solos during this song. 

The performers then ended the night on a lively and happy note. The last few songs promoted being proud of accomplishments and enjoying life. The songs were written by Josef Rheinberger, Sarah Quartel and Stacey V. Gibbs. Britney Kieselhorst and Aldren Briones were two soloists who performed during Quartel’s song. 

This concert consisted of various stories and story lines being told through music. The next few concerts include the NIU Jazz Faculty, Recital and Junior Cello Recital on Oct. 16 and 18.