Arts & Entertainment Editor
The Chorus will be performing at the Tilles Choral Festival on Mar 22. The chorus, led by director Mark Shapiro, will be singing alongside various high school choirs and the event will end with a performance consisting of high school choirs and undergraduate college students, according to junior vocal performance major Veronica Nguyen. Four middle schools and/or high schools will be performing: Brentwood, Freeport, Francis Lewis, and Riverhead schools are expected to be in attendance. About 150 visitors are expected.
Junior music education major Kevin Ammann has been a member of the chorus for three years. Traditionally singing in the tenor section, Ammann will be switching things up for this performance along with the other tenors. “This time around, all the men are combined into one section and are termed ‘baritones’”.
As with any performance, much practice is required if one expects to perform at an optimal level. Ammann sees the rehearsal process for the concert as “interesting”.
“We start out by reading the music on a neutral syllable – “loo” or “doo” , Ammann said.
After discussing the harmonies in a specific piece, comes the more difficult aspect of the rehearsal. This is one of Amman’s favorite parts of the rehearsal process. “After [discussing harmonies], we start looking at the words,” he said. “This is the [fun part]… We try to distill the text into modern English.” The translation of the lyrics aren’t always obvious, but this can lead to some funny instances for the choir. “Dr. Shapiro does not tell us right away what the translation is and has students try to figure it out. This sometimes results in some very funny answers,” he said. The layout of the class is rather untraditional for a music class. The musicians all face one another in the class (think of one large roundtable). Shapiro sets up his class this way to encourage “eye contact with other singers [which is] not possible with our traditional concert set up,” Ammann said.
Senior music education major Kelli Shahinian has been with the chorus since her first semester of college, as a requirement to fulfill her major. Shahinian praises director Shapiro “He pushes us and demands us to seek a high level of musicianship,” she said. In addition, Shahinian enjoys The Coffeehouse element of the chorus performance. The Coffeehouse allows those in the chorus to show off their other musical talents to the audience. “In the past three years we had instrumentalists play their chamber music, we had another student perform a monologue from a Shakespearean play…It’s a great way for students to [showcase their talents],” she said. The coffeehouse performances will take place at the Apr 14 concert.
Catch the Chorus perform at Tilles Center on Mar 22 at 7:30 p.m. and see the Chorus and Chamber singers perform on Apr 14 at the Tilles Center starting at 8 p.m.