Colgate Choirs Charm Crowd

Kate Preziosi

When the Colgate University Choral Ensembles and Festival Orchestra took the stage for their year-end concert last Sunday, the full acoustic potential of the Memorial Chapel was realized as collective voices enriched the space with a variety of classical and contemporary hymns.

The Chamber Singers were the first to perform, opening with “My True-Love Hath My Heart,” composed by Jean Berger. An American, Berger came of age while traveling throughout Germany, Vienna, Paris, Brazil and, finally, the United States, where he would spend the remainder of his days. His life experiences among these many different cultures are reflected in this work.

“[Berger’s] contributions to the choral repertoire reflect worldly perspectives and interests in many cultures,” Choral Ensemble director James Niblock explained. “The diverse influences at work in his music also pay homage to earlier styles and techniques while presenting rhythmic vitality and a broad harmonic palette.”

The Chamber Singers, who were the smaller of the two groups, were also the most powerful performers. The blend of men and women’s voices fused together effortlessly, creating a truly graceful set.

The Women’s Singers followed with Johann Micheal Haydn’s “Vesperae pro Festo Sancti Innocentium.” The seven-movement piece was a change of pace for the group, which usually performs an arrangement of multiple compositions.

The composer is what Niblock described as “an easily overlooked figure in the Classical Period.” Taking time to detail the structure of the piece, he emphasized its simplicity and elegance.

“The Vespers demonstrate how the progressive simplicity of Haydn’s late style diverges from the complex counterpoint of the stile antico. Though the symbolism of male trebles performing the work may be effective, the demands of the piece are more practically met by mature women’s voices,” Niblock said.

The group of 22 delivered the religious hymn, which recounts the biblical story of God’s promises to David, with just such maturity and range of emotion that the piece required.

First-year Arianne Templeton, a member of the Women’s Singers, remarked on how Niblock has helped bring the group to a new level of distinction over the year.

“I feel like the choir here has helped my voice a lot,” Templeton said. “I’ve talked to a few people in the choir who agree, and who love what James has done with the program.”

The concert brought another section of Colgate’s arts to a close for the year. Time is running out to experience the talented performances of the 2007 school year! Thursday, go to the Palace Theatre at 7:30 p.m. for the Jazz Ensemble’s final show titled “Setting Standards.” Admission is free for students with identification.