Choirs deliver finale to Valentine’s day weekend with ‘Songs of Love’ concert

Margorie Clemente , Staff Reporter

Following a sonorous introduction that filled the dimly lit Dvorak Hall, conductor Timothy Renner explained that the following songs would serve as a separation between love, loss of love and even death.

The University Mixed Chorus and Concert Choir played a Valentine’s Day themed concert titled “Songs of Love” Sunday evening.

Though the Dvorak was not a full house, the audience’s appreciation and receptiveness was evident once the elegantly dressed singers shuffled across the stage and arranged themselves.

Renner went on to mention that the crowd would be pleased to hear Irish, French, Italian and German sounds within each piece.

He said all songs would convey “light, joyous and playful” emotions.

In the program pamphlet, audience members were allowed a translation to at least three of the pieces that were in French, Italian and German.

Ali Fisher, a soprano Concert Choir member, said choir members spent two weeks learning the precise pronunciation and timing of German lyrics before they even began singing the piece.

Fisher said she was not usually the type to grow nervous, but rather excited.

She said some of the other choir members were racked with nerves before stepping out from backstage.

Some of their more delicate pieces like “V. Dirait-on” and “A Red, Red Rose” left the audience mesmerized and watching with careful eyes as the conductors gracefully prompted the singers to a conclusion with their sweeping arm movements.

In “A Red, Red Rose,” one could hear the gradual rise of voices in the middle of the piece and the sharp trill of the sopranos ringing.

Accompanists on the piano would cease their background harmony; then came the sudden descend as the echo died, leaving nothing but a hushed, lingering final note.

Soon, a delayed but enthused applause erupted from the audience.

Quicker paced songs like the andante “El Grillo” left audience members shifting in their seats, eagerly lending their ears to the sounds that resonated throughout Dvorak.

The choir members also rendered whimsical variations of childhood nursery rhymes. Conductor Richard Robert Rossi joked lightly with the audience and suggested that parents wake their little ones for the following segment, seeing as it was dedicated to them.

The comical renditions of “Humpty Dumpty” and “Little Jack Horner” had the audience joined in a chorus of laughter.

The conductors swayed and guided the careful performances throughout the evening. Rossi first read aloud “Music in the Night” to situate the audience in an obscure, romantic period. He said David Dickau, composer of “Music in the Night,” was one of his favorites.

Rossi also read aloud from several texts that described the true meaning of music and its intended effect for a collective audience.

The finale allowed all singers to gather and perform the old Celtic folk song “Derry Air,” also known as “Danny Boy” or “Londonderry Air.”

The singers’ performance ended on a resounding note.

Margorie Clemente can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]