By Julia Duggan
The College’s choir and chorale performed in a concert on March 26 to raise money to support Ukraine. The concert was held at the Morrisville Presbyterian Church.
Themes of hope and gospel music were evident in the program. The audience was seated in pews instead of concert seats and the performers were arranged around the altar and the organ. The concert was conducted by John Leonard, the College’s choir director.
The concert featured a number of soloists from both groups, as well as Leanoard’s twin sons. The chorale performed “Rejoice in the Lamb,” by Benjamin Britten, “Pie Jesu from ‘Requiem,” by Andrew Lloyd Webber and “You are a New Day,” by John David.
“Rejoice in the Lamb” was originally written for a summer music festival hosted by the Cathedral of Chichester in 1965. The piece is based on a poem written by Christopher Smart, a deeply religious eighteenth century poet. The music features several soloists, including Emily Obenauer, a senior music education major, Alekhya Madiraju, a senior biology major, Chase Atkinson, a sophomore music education major and Peter Corso, a junior music education major. The soloists’ distinct voices were easily heard over the choir, yet still blended well with the rest of the performers.
“Pie Jesu,” which is part of the piece “Requiem,” was inspired by two tragedies that occurred very close to each other according to Webber’s official website. The piece “Requiem” is divided into several movements. Leonard chose to perform one movement from the piece “Pie Jesu.”The soloists in this piece were Hope Miller, a freshman music education major and Geoffrey Leonard, one of Leonard’s sons.
“You are a New Day” featured Megan Schollete, a junior music education major, conducting the chorale.
“I did a lot of work studying the score, getting to know the piece and the composer, presenting it and teaching it to the class and then also practicing my conducting for that,” Scholette said.
Leonard joined the choir and sang in the piece Scholette conducted.
“It was really nice to see everyone come together and just want to sing together,” Scholette said. “Even having Dr. Leonard join the choir to sing with everybody, it wasn't anything different, it was just like another member stepping in and singing.”
The College’s choir and chorale performed “Chichester Psalms” by Leonard Bernstein. This piece is separated into three movements that each focus on two or three Psalms, which are sacred songs or hymns connected to both Christianity and Judaism. The “Chichester Psalms” feature Psalms 2, 23, 100, 108, 131 and 133.
The soloists in this piece were Cassidy Leonardis, a junior special education and music major, Hannah Stratton, a junior music education major, Riley Aviles, a sophomore music education major, Mark Squindo, a freshman vocal performance major, Jason Tompson, a freshman music education major and Leonard’s other son, Samuel Leonard. Organist Andrew Kotylo accompanied the choir in each song.
“It was a tough piece and we all worked so hard on it,” Leonardis said. “We spent ample amounts of time in our rehearsals working on it and it’s like, finally I see it all come together. We are in a church singing together as a group finally.”