Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Preview: Four choirs perform together in one concert


Director Michael Zemek conducts the Augustana Kommarkör for their performance on May 10 at 4 p.m. in Centennial Hall. Cantilena Augustana, Jenny Lind Vocal Ensemble and Wennerberg Men’s Chorus will also be performing.
Photo by Linnea Ritchie.

From “Eatnemen Vuelie” by Frode Fjellheim, better known as the opening song in Disney’s “Frozen,” to Bastille’s “Pompeii,” the Four Choirs’ concert will showcase the works of Augustana’s vocal ensembles.
The concert will feature performances by women’s choirs Cantilena Augustana and Jenny Lind Vocal Ensemble, Wennerberg Men’s Chorus and mixed choir Augustana Kammarkör at 4 p.m. on May 10 in Centennial Hall. Each choir will perform three to four songs during the hour-long concert.
Augustana Kommarkör director Michael Zemek said that this is due to a reduced rehearsal schedule because each of the choirs only meets twice a week instead of the standard four a week.
“So, unlike our other programs that meet four or five times a week, we can only prepare 15-20 minutes of music,” said first-year Ellenelle Gilliam. “So each choir couldn’t prepare enough music for a full concert.”
Zemek’s choir of 26 members will perform “Five Hebrew Love Songs” by Eric Whitacre, “Penny Lane,” originally by the Beatles and arranged by Bob Chilcott and  “Prayer” by Mortenson Lauridsen.
Zemek said “Prayer” was adapted to song from Dana Gioia’s poem about her infant child who died of sudden infant death syndrome.
“It’s a prayer calling out to God but calling God all these names to get his attention to get God to watch over his dead child,” said Zemek. “It’s really emotional and really beautiful.”
Gilliam, a member of Kommarkör and Cantilena, said this is her favorite piece Kommarkör is performing.
“It’s brought tears to everyone in rehearsal with how text pairs with the song, and it’s one the audience can really connect with,” said Gilliam.
Gilliam said Cantilena will also perform “O Nata Lux” by Deborah C. Lutz, “Msilale Wanawake” by Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory, “I Shall Not Live in Vain” by Debra Scroggins and “Cancion de los Tsachilas” arranged by Michael Sample.
“Cancion de los Tsachilas” is her favorite due to how independent each piece is with a percussion background.
“One of the sounds (Cantilena director) Mrs. Hurty told us to imitate was a marimba or a drum,” said Gilliam. “It’s a very different piece, and I think that’s why everyone enjoys it because it’s not like anything else we are singing.”
Gilliam said one of the aspects of the concert she is looking forward to is the adrenaline rush that comes with performing.
“That’s just something that’s really neat to see, the rush that I know I get and that people around me get and the smiles on their faces, and you can just see it in everyone’s eyes that this is something that everyone likes to do, and it’s really the joy for singing that brings out the finest detail of beauty in pieces,” said Gilliam.

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Preview: Four choirs perform together in one concert