Men’s and women’s fall choir concert sets tone for season

The Men's and Women's Fall Choir Concert took place in the Jones Concert Hall on Tuesday. Liesje Powers | Multimedia Editor

By Cassidy Pate | Reporter

The Baylor Univeristy men’s and women’s choirs lifted the spirits of the Baylor and Waco community as they sang at their annual fall concert on Tuesday in Jones Concert Hall.

With each choir’s incorporation of secular and religious selections, instrumental accompaniments and a even bit of dancing by the men, those in attendance were able to experience an hour and half of captivating musicianship.

Before the concert began, Dr. C. Randall Bradley, the Ben H. Williams professor of music and director of the men’s choir, said the audience should expect to hear music in a wide variety of styles.

Dr. Stephen Gusukuma, lecturer in choral music and director of the women’s choir and VirtuOSO, expressed his gratitude for the turnout of the audience as well as their eagerness to share what both of the choirs have been working towards since the beginning of the fall semester.

The women’s choir started the night off with a six song set. Gusukuma said their program was centered on the praise of women. With female composers and two pieces about Mary Magdalene from the Bible beginning their set, this theme became prevalent.

Their first song was a hymn, “Be Thou My Vision,” by Ruth Watson Henderson.

“I like to find something that feels like a great opening,” Gusukuma said. “That could be a really great strong, powerful opening, [or] it could be, like this, kind of an invocation where we are setting the tone for the rest of the music to come.”

Their third song, “There Is No Rose,” by Z. Randall Stroope, was accompanied by a member of the choir, Stephanie Barrick, and had the audience on the edge of their seats.

The second half of the women’s choir transitioned into songs that related to empowerment for women. This theme carried the women’s voices from the stage to the seats of the concert hall with their singing of Kim Baryluk’s “Warrior,” followed by Ruth Moody’s “One Voice.”

By their final song, “Still I Rise,” by Rosephanye Powell, the audience was moved by the powerful voices of the women’s choir.

The moment the women’s choir left the stage, the men’s choir began setting the stage for their performance.

To begin their set of seven songs, the men sang “Laudate Dominum” by Dan Davidson, a passionate tune that introduced a different energy to the audience.

Although men often have lower voices than women, the men’s choir has a wide range of vocals, which was highlighted throughout their set.

“While we try to keep the choir balanced regarding parts, we often have many more men who sing middle parts than very high or very low parts – a natural challenge with choirs since most people are quite average in the range of their voice,” Bradley said.

By their third song, “O Saya,” originally by A. R. Rahman and arranged by Ethan Sperry for the movie Slumdog Millionaire, the men had showcased this wide range alongside subtle dance movements and enhanced dramatics by a percussion section.

The men’s choir continued to move back and forth between sacred and secular selections, which kept the audience attentive. Although their set was less theme-oriented, those in attendance did not seem to be bothered.

Their final song, “I Want to Walk As a Child of the Light,” by Kathleen Thomerson left Shanghai sophomore religion major Duncan Richards ready to come back for the next choir concert.

“It was a nice ending; it was smooth and a soft end to the night on a high end note,” Richards said.

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