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Home Arts & Culture String Ensemble and Chamber Choir Find Harmony in Annual Recital

by Jayme Lowe

The Concordia String Ensemble, joined by the University Chamber Choir, performed their annual recital on Dec. 6.

The Chamber Choir, also known as the Vocal Jazz Choir, opened the concert with “VoiceDance” by Greg Jasperse. In his introduction to the piece, Professor of Music Dr. Kurt von Kampen, the choir’s conductor, said it had initially been popular about 20 years ago when vocal jazz choirs were becoming more common. The piece was a cappella and, rather than words, used onomatopoeic sounds to create the song, along with the beatboxing of freshman Zachary Mueller.

The 13-member choir then turned to a significantly newer piece, one penned by Concordia alumnus and music instructor David von Kampen. “Meet Me There,” featuring accompaniment by senior Jacob Roggow and solos from sophomore Noah Freeman and freshman Nichole Harstad, was a more soulful arrangement, telling the listener to “meet me there” in heaven.

Concordia’s String Ensemble then took the stage, featuring 11 violins, three violas, five cellos, and a bass. David von Kampen was their conductor. They began with “Concerto Grosso, Op. 6 No. 8,” and played the first movement, “Allegro,” by Arcangelo Corelli and arranged by Todd Parrish. The piece, as the title “Allegro” suggests, was fast and full of energy.

David von Kampen introduced the ensemble’s second piece, “Sicut Cervus” by G. P. Palestrina as an exemplar of the Renaissance era that is usually sung rather than played. The contrasting lines of the various parts allowed all of the different sections to pull forward and back throughout the piece.

The ensemble’s third selection was “Concerto in D Major” by Antonio Vivaldi, one of his lesser-known pieces. It contained three movements: “Allegro molto,” an energetic, busy section; “Adagio,” which was only about 12 measures; and “Allegro,” which was written in two parts, contrasting the violins against the lower strings.

The finale of the recital was a set of three Christmas chorales by the String Ensemble. “Gentle Mary Laid Her Child,” “What Child is This,” and “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” all came to life through the ensemble.

“I think my favorite part was hearing all the instruments come together. Orchestra is such a very underappreciated program…and so it was just beautiful to see them all come together and create beautiful music that we don’t typically hear on the regular here at Concordia,” junior Lana Blakeman said.

For more information about upcoming recitals, contact the Music Department.

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