Family Weekend Choral Concert brings student singers to stage

VirtuOSO, Baylor's co-ed A Capella group, as they rehearsed for their performance last year. Photo credit: Lariat File Photo

The annual Family Weekend Choral Concert will take place at 5 p.m. today in Jones Concert Hall. The concert will be the first time this semester that all of Baylor’s choral ensembles perform together in a single night.

The evening will offer an assortment of varied musical styles for students and their families to enjoy. A Capella Choir, Concert Choir, Bella Voce, Women’s Choir, Men’s Choir and VirtuOSO will each perform two songs during the hour-long concert.

Each ensemble’s songs will be in contrast with one another, said Dr. Alan Raines, director of choral activities and conductor of the A Capella Choir. Audience members will have the opportunity to hear spiritual music, folk songs, jazz, and classical music from the assorted choral groups.

Baylor’s VirtuOSO represents the night’s diversity. The a capella group will perform an arrangement of the hymn “How Great Thou Art” and Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance.”

“We have a new director this year who came in and said we’re not doing enough sacred music, and I think that’s a great point,” said Denton senior Chris Peters, VirtuOSO’s president. “It’s a weird mix of styles. It’s cool, it’s something new that the group hasn’t done before. I think the goal here is to show the variety that we have.”

Baylor Men’s Choir will also feature a dichotomy of styles. The all-male ensemble will perform “Great God Almighty” along with the folk hymn “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.”

“It’s kind of a collage concert,” said Dr. Randall Bradley, the director of the Men’s Choir. “It’s one of my favorite concerts because it’s one of the only times you get to hear all choirs in one concert.”

The concert is the also the first time most choirs will be heard by the student body this semester. Each group, from the select women’s choir Bella Voce to the free-ranging VirtuOSO, has been rehearsing frequently and going on member retreats to prepare for this event and the season to come.

The event, a long-standing tradition of Family Weekend, proves popular every year, Raines said. It is an opportunity for students and their families to be introduced to Baylor’s music program—at no cost.

“It’s important because all the students get to hear each other sing,” said Bradley. “It’s a great opportunity for the community to hear the concert and what students are doing.”

Dr. Lynne Gackle, the assistant choral director and conductor of Bella Voce and Baylor Concert Choir said students and their families should arrive to Jones Concert Hall early, as the event is always standing room only.

The concert will open a full season of performances from Baylor’s School of Music. The day after the Choral Ensemble Concert, the Kaleidoscope Concert will turn the focus on the Baylor Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and A Capella Choir in Jones Concert Hall at 3 p.m. Other highlights include a joint performance by the Baylor Men’s and Women’s Choirs on Oct. 27 and the Christmas at Baylor performance in December.