Every year, the Choral Union, University Singers and University Philharmonic Orchestra combine forces. This week it will happen yet again.
Performing in Jesse Auditorium, these two organizations will meet on stage to perform “The Fauré Requiem” by Gabriel Fauré and “Chichester Psalms” by Leonard Bernstein.
“They are two very contrasting pieces,” Director of Choral Activities Paul Crabb said. “That makes for good programming. If you have something that’s lyrical and is rather intimate, it makes sense to balance it with something that is more outgoing and more vivacious.”
The concert will feature a piece that will represent something bigger than music.
“We’re fortunate to have an eighth grade boy soloist," Crabb said. "Bernstein wrote the part specifically for a boy's voice and we're fortunate to have an excellent singer available. "Chichester Psalms" ends then with all the parts, all the choir, playing and singing the same note. In essence, Bernstein symbolizes his desire for the world to live together in unity by having the choir sing the same words on the same note at the same time. It represents his idea for unity and peace in the world.”
The “Fauré Requiem” in the concert is dedicated to the late Harry Morrison who taught voice at MU School of Music and Stephens College.
“I hope that people will look at this as an honor for an important member of our communicty," Crabb said. "The requiem is a traditional text for the dead. It’s a liturgical service from the Catholic Church and this particular setting, musically, is very positive and optimistic — Harry was an optimistic, positive person.”
Sophomore Caitlin Lukin is a cellist in the orchestra. Concert preparation has been hectic, she said.
“We’ve been practicing like crazy,” Lukin said. “We have around eight hours of practice every week usually and this week we have dress rehearsals every night.”
Senior choral member Kaitlin Foley said this concert is a little different than others she’s done before.
“The music is different, of course,” Foley said. “And this year is the first that we’ve done Hebrew in this kind of setting with the community choir and the orchestra. It’s been fun learning and trying to say the Hebrew really fast.”
Foley’s passion for singing is obvious in her everyday life.
“I love the Bernstein music so much that I listen to it in my house,” Foley said. “I really like choral singing because it always feels like super triumphant when you are in a big group of people but you’re all singing in the same way, as one massive body of sound.”
The concert series will continue next spring with another pairing of the choir and orchestra.
To Foley, the unity of the two groups is powerful.
“There’s just something about a big force of people singing altogether,” Foley said. “It’s just super moving.”