Harmonious performance from Douglas’ Chorus and Chorale
By Caroline Ho, Arts Editor
Douglas College’s vocal groups showed off the singing skills they’ve practiced over the past semesters last Saturday evening at the Music Department’s Choirs in Concert show.
Directed by Eric Hannan, the concert featured Douglas’ two performing vocal groups, the Chorus and Chorale, as they performed a variety of music from around the world, including works by Romantic composers Mendelssohn and Brahms, 20th century arrangements of traditional American and Welsh folk songs, and several pieces from Latin America—showing off the choirs’ linguistic as well as choral dexterity.
Unlike the Music Department’s other end of semester concerts, Choirs in Concert performances aren’t held on campus, instead taking place at the Queens Avenue United Church on Queens Avenue and Sixth Street in New Westminster. It’s a fitting venue, since so much choral music has been written to be sung in congregations, and the communality of the church hall lent the music an extra layer of intimacy and immersion.
The Department’s larger performing group, the Chorus, is made up of music students and community members. They led the evening with several shorter arrangements of traditional hymns as well as Cecilia McDowall’s lively “A Fancy of Folksongs,” made up of four English folksongs. One of these folk tunes featured the sopranos and altos, while another focused on the lower vocal ranges, allowing audiences to fully appreciate the complementarity of all the voices coming together.
The Chorale is comprised of about 15 singers with higher levels of experience who take on more varied and complex pieces, and they took the stage in the latter half of the concert. Perhaps the most unique piece of the night from them was Venezuelan composer César Alejandro Carrillo’s “Crux Fidelis,” hauntingly poignant with its lyrics of Christ’s sacrifice. Hannan told the audience this song has never been published by the composer, making the Chorale’s performance a true treat.
Another especially noteworthy piece was “Dos Rios,” by Cláudio Nucci and Juca Filho and arranged by Vicente Ribeiro. According to Hannan, it’s the most harmonically complex piece the Chorale has ever sung. The work lists off the rivers of Brazil—yet this simple premise is impressively intricate in execution, with the rivers layered onto one another in dense harmonies that bring out and build upon the musicality inherent to every Brazilian river’s name.
The most fun piece, however, had to be the last: Anders Edenroth’s “Chili Con Carne,” where the singers jazzily went through all of the ingredients and steps to making the titular Mexican dish, to the amusement of the audience. This zesty finale was a lot of fun to listen to—and, from the looks of it, a lot of fun to sing.