Choir displays foreign songs, beautiful voices

By Phillip Ericksen

Some of Baylor’s best singers will display their golden pipes for the community.

The Baylor Bella Voce choir will perform at 7:30 p.m. today in Roxy Grove Hall. The concert is free and open to the public.

The choir of 34 female singers will perform a concert titled “By, For, and About Women.”

Dr. Lynne Gackle, professor of ensembles and associate director of choral activities, leads the choir and is excited for the group’s upcoming performance.

“This is a women’s group,” Gackle said. “There are wonderful women composers. Women have been the inspiration behind a lot of music and I wanted to choose texts behind woman composers, as well as woman poets.”

Dr. Isabelle Demers, assistant professor of organ, will also contribute to the set for one piece.

She said she received an email from Gackle during Christmas break requesting her organ accompaniment for “Litanies of the Black Madonna” by French composer Francis Poulenc.

“I listened to it and I thought, ‘Yeah, absolutely, it’s something I’d love to do,’” Demers said. “It’s all in French and French is my native language, so I’m so impressed that people who are not native speakers can speak French so well and sing a piece of music that must be so difficult. Personally I find it very impressive and so moving, also.”

Other pieces to be performed include Javier Busto’s “Salve Regina,” Michelle Roueche’s “Lux Aertna,” and Gwyneth Walker’s “Love Is a Rain of Diamonds.”

These pieces are primarily in languages other than English and diction is vital to their success.

“We have to learn a lot of diction,” said Channelview freshman Kandace Wyatt, a member of the choir. “The main thing is staying really prepared and really focused in the music.”

The concert will be the result of much hard work and preparation.

“Unfortunately we only meet two and a half hours a week,” Gackle said. “But different ladies come very prepared.”

In particular, the Bella Voce choir has spent much time practicing the Francis Poulenc piece inside and outside of regular practices.

“Because it’s 20th century music, it doesn’t always go where you think it’s going to go,” Gackle said.

Wyatt, a choral music education major, said she is proud of the choir’s development and chemistry.

“It’s great,” Wyatt said. “We have a lot of great singers. Some music majors, some non-music majors. We all blend very well and we go out with each other and it’s kind of like a big family of music students and very great voices.”

This blend of camaraderie and talent will lead to a successful performance Gackle said.

“They’re very talented,” Gackle said. “They’re some of the most talented female singers at Baylor School of Music. They are very dedicated to what they do here.”