Choral ensembles to combine talent for first concert of school year

Courtesy Photo /
The ten members of the Cantate Chamber Ensemble

Courtesy Photo / The ten members of the Cantate Chamber Ensemble

Lauren Fitch

The vocal efforts of the Cantate Chamber Ensemble and University Arts Choral will fill the Cook-DeWitt Center on Grand Valley State University’s Allendale campus Saturday as the groups make their debut for the 2010-11 school year.

The co-ed groups are both led by conductor Ellen Pool and have spent hours practicing twice a week since the beginning of the semester to prepare the 10 total songs to be featured in the concert. The CCE is made up of 12 members while the UAC is 43 strong.

“We got into the essence of each piece of music,” Pool said. “We analyzed the meaning of each song, its lyrics and meaning behind it.”

Pool said the songs performed will present a variety of styles as there is no theme or title for the concert. The UAC’s songs will include two spirituals while the CCE adds an early Renaissance feel with three madrigal pieces.

The CCE will perform four songs, including “Loch Lomond” and “Danny Boy.” The six songs by the UAC will include “Ritmo,” “So I’ll Sing with My Voice” and “For the Sake of Our Children.”

Pool said “For the Sake of Our Children” has an important message about social conscience and the persecution of children.

She said she hopes the audience will be impacted by the message of the music and the different musical styles featured in the concert.

One soloist who will have a turn in the spotlight at the concert is senior music major Quyen Dinh. Dinh will sing with both groups, performing a solo for the song “Tango to Evora.”

“Preparing for this concert was very intensive because all of us had to know our parts by heart,” Dinh said. “But, overall, it will be a fun program.”

She said she hopes the audience will appreciate the different musical styles taken from different time periods. The selection should showcase the groups’ vocal flexibility, she said.

Grayson Barton, another soloist, echoed Dinh’s excitement for the performance.

Barton is a member of three different ensemble groups at GVSU and will perform the solo introduction to the classic Scottish folk tune, “Loch Lomond,” on Saturday. He said the audience will not be disappointed.

“People attending the concert can expect to hear a variety of wonderful choral works presented in an acoustically-rich, ambient environment,” he said. “Choral works tend to sound great in Cook-DeWitt.”

Barton said the group’s hard work during practices should be evident at the concert.

“We are singing many pieces that are in foreign languages, and it takes a lot of time to assimilate and memorize the material,” Barton said. “I don’t think people realize just how much time music majors put in to practicing and learning their music.”

All members of the GVSU community are invited to hear for themselves the musical production of the CCE and UAC. The concert is free of charge and begins at 8 p.m.

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