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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Music

Moores chorale kicks off new season


From classical to pop, European to Zambian, the Moores School of Music choral program sings it all.

The Moores choral program performed their New Voices Concert, which kicked off an anticipated season of music and celebrated new and veteran members in a massive concert of almost 160 singers and 10 vocal ensembles Tuesday evening in the Moores Opera House.

The maturity, control and tight, flowing lines tenderly wrapped the room in an embrace and touched people’s hearts. Zhe Sun, a second-year international and graduate chemistry student from China, was deeply moved by the music, especially the Concert Women’s Chorus performance.

“I feel like … they’re perfect not only by their voices, but by their heart and soul. The counterpoint is perfect, considering the difficulty of the music,” Sun said. “The layers of the songs were expressed perfectly. It almost made me cry.”

Though the choral program is strong, it isn’t just composed of vocal majors. In fact, there are many non-music majors who actively participate in ensembles. Assistant professor of choral studies Jeb Mueller said he felt that students from a variety of academic and musical backgrounds play a significant role in the program’s success and diversity.

“We have dozens of non-music majors who sing in our choirs. They play a vital role in our success, and we heartily welcome new singers from around campus to join us. We have a choir for every ability level, and every one of our choirs are fantastic,” Mueller said. “I’m proud to say that we have one of the truly outstanding choral programs in the country. Not many people on campus know that, and it’s a shame.”

For Gisela Escobar Diaz, a first-year graduate student in violin performance, hearing the diverging and converging of voices as they filled the auditorium was something she felt a personal connection with.

“I’ve always been amazed how people inside the choir could keep their own music lines. I was never able to; I was always blending in, singing what the tenors were singing,” Escobar said. “I’ve always loved vocal music because it’s a talent I don’t have. I tried — I was in choir in my undergrad, and I loved it. I thought singing was just easy, but it’s not. I can play my violin. That’s about it.”

Many other students enjoyed the pop choral arrangements of the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” and Sara Bareilles’ “Many the Miles.” Pre-pharmacy junior Nicole Nguyen said she loved the sense of commonality that pop music brings to the public.

“I loved ‘Many the Miles.’ I knew the song already, so I could sing the song out in my head. I feel like when they take a song and then take it into choir, you can hear it more,” Nguyen said. “It was great to hear the song in a different way. I like a song that gives me the feels.”

For international student and first-year chemistry graduate student Xiangyi Ke, she could drown out the world with the flowing sounds of perfectly in-tune voices. She said the night was especially celebratory because her friend Jun Guo played as the piano accompanist for the Concert Women’s Chorus.

“They have control very well. Their voice is so harmonious, and I just close my eyes. I feel like it’s just me and the music. I can feel the echo in the air,” Sun said. “My friend is playing so well.”

Moores’ most prestigious choir, Concert Chorale, is internationally acclaimed and has successfully competed in choir competitions all over the the world. Under the baton of Betsy Cook Weber, the Director of Choral Studies, they took home first place in both the overall competition and best interpretation of a sacred work in the 13th International Chamber Choir Competition Marktoberdorf in Germany earlier this summer.

“We are very proud of these students. Come enjoy hearing the results of their hard work,” Weber said.

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