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Review Of “Fall Into Music” Choir Concert

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Sir Edward Elgar was born June 2, 1857 in Broadheath, Worcestershire, England. Elgar was an English composer who wrote during the era of Romanticism. He came from a musically endowed family; his mother played the organ while his father owned his own music shop. When Edward was a child, around the age of 10, he started teaching himself how to play the instruments in his father’s shop, along with that he studied the music that was available there too. With that, he practically grew in an environment that was filled with plenty of music. One of the reasons that he became well known was because of that very reason, since he grew up in the music shop that his father owned, he was self-taught, he had no formal composition training. He struggled to establish himself and his compositions on an international level, however his work eventually did reach incredible levels of stardom. He composed many famous pieces of music throughout his career such as “Pomp and Circumstances Marches” and “Symphony No. 1 in A flat”. He was found to be suffering from a “malignant tumor which pressed on the sciatic nerve” which caused his death on February 23, 1934.

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The “Fall into Music” choir concert was presented by the Blinn College Choir. It was an amazing concert to attend since there were many chorus groups and choirs from the Blinn College there, in total there were 4 different groups singing throughout the concert. The men’s choir group was the first group that sang in the concert. One of the pieces that they sang was titled Baba Yetu and arranged by Christopher Tin, which was sung in the language of Swahili and also had a piano accompaniment. The piece had a homophonic texture since everyone in the choir sang the piece together, just on different notes, which created chords and harmonies throughout the song. Baba Yetu started off with two people singing the melody, then the rest of the choir joined in providing a background accompaniment. A couple of measures later the entire choir was singing together and started to dance and clap their hands to the beat of the song. The piece Baba Yetu was released in 2005 and became “immensely popular” and won a Grammy Award in 2011 for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists. The next group that sang was the women’s chorus, and one of the pieces they sang was titled Down in the River to Pray and was arranged by Cheryl Lynn Helm. The piece is homophonic and was sung in English. Down in the River to Pray had a solo by one of the soprano voices, Estefania Rivera, who started the piece and was later accompanied by the rest of the choir. The origin of the song is practically unknown, but many believe that the song was originally a “Native American tribal song that was later adapted to include Christian lyrics. ”

The chamber choir was the next group to perform next, unlike the first two groups to perform, this group had both men and women singing together. The chamber choir sang Lux Aeterna which was composed by Edward Elgar. The piece was originally written for orchestral use in 1899, however John Cameron, a British composer and arranger, transcribed the piece for choir use. When the piece was transcribed, John Cameron “added words from the Lux aeterna text of the Requiem Mass. ” With that, the piece is liturgical and is sung in Latin. Lux Aeterna starts of homophonic and as the piece continues, some of the voices start to sing different rhythms, making it polyphonic also, but the piece remains largely homophonic. The final group to perform is the concert choir, they sang the piece Glow. The piece is equally polyphonic and homophonic, is sung in English, and has a piano accompaniment. The song starts off with the females only singing and then all the males joining in later in the song. The lyrics for Glow were written by the elusive poet Edward Esch and the piece was part of the Disneyland (Anaheim) Winter Dreams program in 2013.

All the groups sang 3 pieces each, however, I only put the one piece that I thought best highlighted the vocal ability of each specific group. It was the first time that I have ever been to a vocal concert like that one, and I would go to another if I had the opportunity. The concert overall was a captivating experience that was very enjoyable from start to end.

10 October 2020

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