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The Dartmouth
June 17, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Chamber Choir enlivens audiences in Rollins show

Wednesday evening's Chamber Singers performance of "For Lo, The Winter is Past" may not have impacted the weather but it did enliven the audience. Despite sporadic weaknesses in the overly lengthy program, the ensemble impressed the audience with their diverse arrangements and superb voices.

The performance opened with Thomas Morley's "Now is the Month of Maying," setting the festive tone of the evening. The choir accented the light lyrics of the song like "The Spring, clad all in gladness/Doth laugh at Winter's sadness," with an airy, dynamic chorus.

A senior quartet of Emily McConnell, Marie Pauline Esguerra, Timothy Daleiden and Andy Schoenhard collaborated marvelously in a moving version of "April in My Mistress' Face."

McConnell was among the many Chamber Singers whose faces were familiar from the theater production Sweeney Todd.

The long-running musical which ended only three days ago and resulted in the postponement of the Chamber Singers concert from an earlier May date did not appear to affect the enthusiastic performers.

Stephen Fox '00, Padraic Malinowski '97 and Sean Parr '99 shone in their performance of Schubert's drinking songs.

Yet the soloists of the performance did not shine so brightly -- Erma Gattie's selections concentrated in the lower end of the scale rather than emphasizing her talents as a soprano.

Marie Pauline Esguerra '97 also encountered difficulty during her solo. At times her beautiful mezzo-soprano voice was barely audible over the dominating all male background vocals and the piano accompaniment.

The program also suffered with the group's performance of William Hawley's "Yo Soy la Primavera" (I am Spring) which seemed to lack both fluidity and enthusiasm.

Yet, the strength of the female group members was apparent throughout the performance. The exquisite violin accompaniment of Kathy Andrew and Marcia Cassidy accented the women's beautiful voices in Edward Elgar's "The Snow" while the arrangement of "Vita de la Mia Vita" (Life of My Life") highlighted the talent of the sopranos.

With their exceptional individual parts, Laura Gibson '99 and Emily McConnell '97 enhanced an already powerful "Yver, vous n'estes qu'un villain" (Winter, villain that thou art).

The song which juxtaposed the delights of summer with the harshness of winter explored the technical strengths of the singers with its movements in intensity.

The Chamber Singers also succeeded in their handling of Arvo Part's modern compositions. Christopher Lundell's solo organ piece "Annum per annum" (Year by year) produced lovely melodic representation of Christian spirituality.

The organ's accompaniment of the choir in "Beatitudes" provided a low base background for the singers before climbing to a more complex solo arrangement at the end of the tune.

The ensemble ended the evening with William Billings' "I am the Rose of Sharon,"singing the hopeful lyrics, "The Winter is past, the rain is over and gone."