This morning concert session at the Old South Church featured three groups covering a wide age range. The main focus of this concert was to showcase how music is universal among people of different ages, and can stay with someone for their whole life. The first ensemble performing was the Combined Choirs of Haverford High School, conducted by Marsha Core, who has been directing the group since 1987. The choir had a diverse repertoire, starting with works by William Byrd and Sergei Rachmaninoff, which showcased their ability to create a beautiful, full sound. The group then performed “Sleep” by Eric Whitacre, and the captivating dissonances rang throughout the sanctuary. Next was “Double, Double, Toil and Trouble,” a movement from Jaako Mäntyjärvi’s “Four Shakespeare Songs.” This piece takes text directly from the Witches’ scene in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” and the choir was able to get into the Witches’ characters using body percussion and a choreographed dance, entrancing the audience. The last two pieces, “Daniel, Daniel Servant of the Lord” by Undine Moore and “Prime Time Blues” by Anders Edenroth called for gospel and blues styles, which showed the choir’s ability to produce an amazing sound across a variety of musical genres.
The second group to perform was the Keystone State Boychoir, under the direction of Steven M. Fisher. This ensemble is made up of 200 boys ranging from ages 8 through 18. Their program was set up so that one song flowed into the next for most of the set. They started with a combination of three pieces, “Children’s March” from “Carmen,” by George Bizet, which was sung by the younger boys, “Zikr” by R. Rahman, which the older boys sang, and finally all of the boys came together to sing “O Fortuna” from “Carmina Burana.” Perhaps one of the most moving sections of this ensemble’s set was their performance of “Ubuntu” by Dr. Veronica Nix and Steven Fisher. Ubuntu is a South African word that roughly translates to “kindness,” and the boys represented this sentiment by having the youngest boys of the group step forward and make a speech about compassion, love, and brotherhood. The group ended their performance with a medley of South African songs arranged by Steven Fisher, even teaching the audience a song and inviting us to sing along. The boys continued to sing and wave at everyone as they exited the stage, leaving everyone in the audience feeling like a big family.
The final group to perform was the Jameson Singers, founded and directed by Dr. Jameson Marvin. This group is open to amateur singers of any age, which really matched the theme and message of this concert. People of all different ages came together in this ensemble and sang beautiful polyphonic works, such as “Gloria” from “Missa Papae Marcelli” by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and “Kyrie” from “Mass in G Minor” by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Their set was entirely a capella, and each selection allowed the group to showcase their musicality and place all of the focus on their singing. The space carried their harmonious voices extremely well, and allowed each chord to echo beautifully. The final piece, “Os Justi meditabitur sapientiam” by Anton Bruckner, ended with a glorious Alleluia that rang out and finished the concert perfectly. These three groups did a fantastic job and we all had a wonderful morning at the Old South Church!
- Christine De Nobile, ‘18
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