The Augustana Concert Chorale and the Jenny Lind Vocal Ensemble will perform in a joint concert Oct. 30 in Centennial Hall, beginning at 2 p.m.
Selections for the concert reflect the joy of singing together, rejuvenation and love expressed through song.
Concert Chorale program
The Concert Chorale will perform "Praise the Lord" from the Handel oratorio “Judas Maccabeus”; "How to Sing Like a Planet" by Elizabeth Alexander; and "In Meeting We Are Blessed by Troy D. Robertson."
Choral director Sonya Hurty said the Handel selection gives students the opportunity to perform a traditional choral classic, while the Robertson piece "exclaims our joy in being able to be together to sing and draw strength and support from one another. "
She said "How to Sing Like a Planet" is a fun, whimsical selection about the music the earth makes just by being itself and how that can be reflected in song.
The Concert Chorale is a mixed ensemble that performs a variety of literature from all style periods.
Jenny Lind program
Director Michael Zemek said the ensemble is preparing music on two themes: singing and rejuvenation, and issues of mental health and awareness
The first theme is in response to the fears and restrictions imposed on singing and music-making during the pandemic, he said.
"We'll open with 'A New Day' by American composer Kinley Lange, which contains a powerful message of hope and expectation," he said. "Then we'll sing an Estonian piece by Veljo Tormis from his collection Laulud laulust ja laulikust (Songs of Singing and for the Singer)."
This set concludes with the familiar tune, "How can I keep from singing?" arranged by Sarah Quartel.
The second set of three pieces addresses mental health.
Composer Molly Pease has set the words of her father, Randall Pease, in an unusual and unsettling way. Her father struggled with addiction, severe depression, cancer, and dementia, and Pease says that this caused her to "learn about the ugly side of love."
In setting his poetry to music, she realized her father was not lost; he had found peace, and "His love reaches out through his poetry, and through the voices who sing his words."
Next is a piece by Elaine Hagenberg of Des Moines called "O Love," inspired by the words of a Scottish minister.
The concert concludes with Rockford, Illinois, native Jake Runestad's "Please Stay." Here the lyrics speak directly to those contemplating suicide:
"Don't let your worst day be your last.
The storm is strong, but it will pass.
You think you can't go on another day, but please stay. Just stay."
Zemek said Runestad incorporates the statements adapted from actual tweets using the hashtag #IKeptLiving, expressions of hope from those who battle depression and chose to live, and he donates a portion of the proceeds from this work to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The Jenny Lind Vocal Ensemble is a select treble ensemble for those wishing to develop advanced choral skills and a better understanding of various styles of choral music composed for sopranos and altos.
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