Choir concert highlights love songs

Tyler Stauffer photoTyler Stauffer photo
The Mercyhurst Concert Choir, Carpe Diem Chorale and Collegiate Singers performed this past Sunday evening a program of love songs.

The concert featured student conductors and instrumental pieces. Among the instrumental pieces was a duet for piano and cello, “Sunset in Copan,” composed by senior Jonatan Estrada, who performed the piece on cello along with junior Omar Roy on piano.

Seniors Meghan Geci, Justin Trainer and graduate student Luis Sierra were also featured as instrumental soloists during the concert.

The highlighted student conductors were seniors Randi Heitman, Lauren Haines, Alicia Danenberg and juniors William Petransky, Erin Hepler and Brianna Steves.

The concert began with a Christian hymn by Robert Wadsworth Lowry and arranged by Karen P. Thomas titled, “How Can I Keep From Singing.” The song takes a simple melody and creates a six part round, which makes to piece very complex.

The choir followed that with a jazzy tune by George Gershwin arranged by Rod Butler, “Our Love is Here to Stay,” which features thick, rich harmonies.

The Collegiate Singers performed next. They are a group of singers who attended the PCCA Festival and received the highest honors as the first place quartet.

This group sang two pieces by twentieth century composer Ralph Vaughn Williams.

The Carpe Diem Chorale then sang “She Moved Through the Faire,” a traditional Irish tune arranged by Roger Ames, and also “The Garden’s Last Red Rose,” by Sara Teasdale and Brad Nix, conducted by Heitman.

After the beautiful instrumental interlude of Estrada’s piece, the Choir sang a beautiful Morten Lauridsen choral selection, “Sure on This Shining Night,” which moves the melody between the men and women.

Following that, Petransky conducted “Waters Ripple and Flow,” by Deems Taylor, that emphasizes the true American music of the 20th century.

Haines then conducted “The Most Living Moment” by David Childs, poetry by Rumi who stresses the importance of the human soul and condition. Childs really captures that essence through his composition.

Next, the Choir sang “O My Luv’s Like a Red, Red Rose,” by Rene Clausen, conducted by Hepler, featuring Geci on piano, Sierra on violin, and Estrada on cello.

Trainer played a lovely piece on guitar by Agustin Barrios-Mangore titled “Julia Florida Baracola.” A baracole is a piece of music usually sung by gondoliers in Venice, Italy. The piece by Barrios-Mangore is virtuosic by nature, and a lovely piece for performance.

Student leader, Steves then conducted the Carpe Diem women in two pieces including a wonderful arrangement of the classic American, “Amazing Grace.”

All of the women of the Choir then performed the traditional spiritual “O Sing Your Songs,” arranged by Noble Cain.

The full Choir finished the concert with two more spirituals including “My Lord What a Morning,” arranged by Harry T. Burleigh—an Erie native who was the first African American composer to influence the development of African American music in a classical form. This piece was conducted by student Danenberg.

The final selection the choir sang was Wlliam L. Dawson’s “Ain’t-a-That Good News!”