Lenten Choral Celebration

Marina Boyle, Features Editor

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On April 3, the D’Angelo Department of Music hosted a Lenten Choral Concert featuring the Mercyhurst Concert Choir and Chamber Singers at St. Luke Catholic Church.
This was my first time attending one of the choir’s concerts, despite the fact that I have many friends in the choir.
The concert had a Lenten theme that focused on preparation for Easter time.
The composers of each of the pieces had a Lenten theme in mind, which was explained to the crowd.
In particular, choir conductor Thomas Brooks spoke at length about the legacy of Heinrich Schutz, whose songs “The Seven Last Words” and “Christ, Be Thine the Glory” opened the show.
Other songs included “The Fawcon,” “Were You There?” and “Lamentations of Jeremiah.”
The songs gave me a musical history of the Lenten season.
Some of the chosen pieces dated from as far back as 1645, and some were contemporary, creating a very diverse body of music for the show.
I also enjoyed how Brooks spoke about many of the songs in detail and gave some of their history.
As someone who has yet to take a music class at Mercyhurst, this context was a very helpful addition.
My personal favorite song was the Chamber Singers’ beautiful performance of “Mercy.”
Each song featured Paul Caram as the accompanist. Caram was excellent and really added to my enjoyment of the show.
One of the best parts of the evening was seeing how many parents had come to support their performing children.
I saw lots of families tear up as the choir sang, with good reason.
St. Luke’s Church was a very relaxing fitting and location for the occasion, especially because of the Easter symbolism throughout the church, such as the purple cloth and the stations of the cross.
A special point of the evening came at the end of the concert when Brooks invited all Mercyhurst alumni in the audience to stand.
It was wonderful to see how many there were.
Lots of them were very elderly and had still made the trip to St. Luke’s for the show.
Brooks also asked for a round of applause for any previous choir members in the audience.
Three members of the crowd who varied in age all came forward in a very heartfelt moment.
The programmed concert concluded with the Lenten favorite “Here I Am, Lord” and a standing ovation from the crowd.
The choir then performed an encore piece of “The Lord is My Shepherd,” which Brooks did not conduct, instead stepping back to watch the choir sing the piece together.
It was a truly fantastic performance and I would gladly attend a choir concert again.

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