Collegiate singers to deliver end-of-year performance; will sing about death, vanity, finding peace

Draven Jackson

Staff Writer

The Collegiate Choir Concert will be in the band room of Long Hall on Friday, April 21, at 7 p.m.

Audience members should come with an open mind and “expect to have their emotions stirred,” according to James Brown, conductor of Collegiate Singers.

According to Brown, assistant professor of choral music, the first song, “The Corner of Disappearing Names” by Kevin Bobo, is dark and is supposed to make the audience feel uncomfortable. If audience members listen closely, they may be able to catch the names of Holocaust, Black Lives Matter and Orlando shooting victims murmured during the song.

The next song, “Requiem for the Living” by Dan Forrest, is a five-movement piece. Brown said this piece carries a sense of hope throughout it, although it is sprinkled with few dark moments, most notably during “Vanitas” when all of the singers will repeatedly say the word “vanity.”

The last two pieces, “Wayfaring Stranger” by Michael Engelhardt and an arrangement of “Unclouded Day” will work together to bring the concert full circle from a sense of darkness to a place of peace, which is the signature of the concert title: “Discovering Peace.”

The concert will feature many student soloists.

Mary Kelly Cantrell, a senior human services major from Syracauga, will perform a solo during “Requiem for the Living.” She said that she is excited for her solo, if not a little nervous.

“.It’s always good to be nervous because, if you are not, then do you really care about it?” Cantrell said

“I am just really proud of the work we have put in because this is some really hard repertoire that we have been working on as a non-auditioned choir,” Cantrell said. “You’ve got kids coming in who have only sang Taylor Swift their whole life and now they’re singing intense classical literature.

Joe Smith, a junior music industry major from Luverne, will also be performing a solo during “Requiem.”

“The biggest thing to me is that if you came into it not really knowing anything about music and not really knowing what you can do, you will be shown, through the things that we do, that you can do more than you think you can,” Smith said. “It’s a welcoming place and there are all different levels of singers and all different levels of different difficulty with everything, but it all ends up evening out with everybody through our sound.”

Brown said the students have been preparing for this performance since the end of January. He says within the class, he hopes to teach the students real world skills as they go out in life.

“I am trying to teach life skill sets as well as the music, like the skill set of being a good colleague, because you’re working with lots of different people, and being a respectful colleague,” Brown said. “And just helping them find their sense of humanity, recognizing that we come from all different walks and all different journeys, and some of us have a spiritual part to our being and others don’t, and how we allow ourselves to live in the same space and work on a piece.”

The students in the collegiate choir are all members of the class, which meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday from noon to 12:50 p.m. The class is not an audition choir and accepts students across all majors.

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