A Musical Afternoon: Three Parts in Perfect Harmony


The Colgate University Chorus and guests perform a Haydn masterpiece for the Hamilton Community.

The room falls silent as four artists walk onto the Colgate Memorial Chapel stage, weaving between the chorus and orchestra, soon to reveal each one of their angelic singing voices. With no verbal introduction, the conductor takes his place and raises his baton, briefly suspending both the musicians in their starting positions and the audience in anticipation before the downward swoop of his hands sets the performance in motion. The room fills with the melodic sounds of the orchestra and is soon pierced by the crystal clear voice of one artist, singer Jason Eck. He is soon joined by the dozens of voices behind him to tell the biblical story of creation.

On the cold, gloomy afternoon of Sunday, April 15, the University Chorus, along with an accompanying guest orchestra and additional soloists, preformed The Creation: Hob.XXI:2; Oratorio for Solo Voices, Chorus and Orchestra by Joseph Haydn. The conductor, R. Ryan Endris, currently serves as Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral and Vocal Activities at Colgate. His conducting skills help meld the three components of the performing group together – the chorus, the orchestra and the soloists – in perfect harmony. The soloists are all professional singers with multiple degrees in music who ventured to Colgate for this performance. The soloists included bass-baritone Jason Eck, tenor Gene Stenger and soprano Evelyn Johnson Zamudio singing the parts of Raphael and Adam, Uriel, and Gabriel and Eve, respectively. Throughout the performance, the three groups of performers each had their time to shine and would trade back and forth between taking the spotlight and supporting the other sections. The true magic of the performance came when all three sections worked together to fill the room with beautiful sound, the vibrations of which travel through a listener’s entire body.

The piece is incredibly difficult to master, but the chorus, orchestra and soloists all did an incredible job of harmonizing. 

“Haydn’s Creation is a really challenging piece, but getting it down the way we did was incredibly rewarding. Also, having the opportunity to work with such accomplished soloists and instrumentalists is something that I am still in awe of,” University Chorus member, first-year Paul Nugent said.

Their hard work paid off, immediately capturing the audience, holding their attention for the entire performance and earning their admiration.

The audience held a diverse set of attendees and included local Hamilton residents, faculty and students. Many of the students in attendance had studied some aspect of the performance, be it the story of Genesis or the musical composition. “You can’t really get the emotion of the performance out of a recording like you can out of a live performance. It’s a really amazing composition, and it all comes together by being [at the performance],” sophomore Matt Freniere said. Students appreciated both the combination of professional and student performers and the piece itself. 

This performance perfectly created a space that radiated warmth and beauty on a dreary afternoon in upstate New York.   

Contact Abby Blair at [email protected].