The concert began with all the choral groups filing onto the stage–until the entire choral department was present. Then the first song, Carly Simon’s, “Let the River Run,” commenced. The song was said to represent the dreamers of the young generation. The upbeat number set a tone of hope and optimism for the future.
Next, the Beginning Chorus performed what, in my opinion, was the most unique song of the night. It was surprisingly good for the beginning level–and to the audience’s astonishment included monkey and bird noises. The animal imitations definitely drew some laughs. Honestly, I was crying. It was funny–in a good way. Toward the end of the song, the chorus imitated the noise of what I thought was indigenous Brazilian children. It was culturally enlightening and hilarious. The best combination.
Another highlight of the concert was the girls and boys chorus presentations.
Mary Lee Free served as a student conductor for the girls’ number, “John Saw Da Numba.”
For the boys’ song, Hunter Coultrap served as the student conductor as they sang an excellent rendition of “Coney Island Baby,” complete with comical movements to act out the story of the song. The number was a definite crowd-pleaser and garnered almost as many laughs as the monkey-noise song.
After the crowd calmed down, Capital Pride took the stage and presented an A Capella version of a segment from the Berlioz Requiem. Earlier this year, Capital Pride traveled to Carnegie Hall to perform the Requiem, and it was evident by their performance that the group deserved such an honor.
Capital Pride also dedicated a song to Mr. Albert, the band director, in honor of his retirement.
Before the “Awakening,” Diane Covington, choral director, challenged the audience to “imagine for a moment, what it would be like without music.”
“The Awakening” begins chillingly with lyrics, “I dreamed a dream, a silent dream of a land not far away where no bird sang, no steeples rang, and teardrops fell like rain. I dreamed a dream; a silent dream.”
The sound of it was paralyzing–the combination of mournful piano and voices barely louder than a whisper.
Then the music transitioned from foreboding to hopeful, with the final lyrics stating, “Wherever emptiness is found let there be joy and glorious sound. Let music never die in me; forever let my spirit sing! Let all our voices join as one to praise the giver of the sun! Awake, awake! Let music live!”
The audience was now convinced, that it would surely be a grim world if there were no music. It would be overbearingly quiet and bleak indeed. Luckily, the mood shifted with the last peformance, a soulful rendition of “Let Everything That Hath Breath.”
Several chorus members stepped aside from the group to belt out a soulful solo part. I was tempted to start clapping. It resembled the energy of a Southern Baptist church choir mixed with a traditional black spiritual.
Overall, the 2011 Spring Chorus Concert was a pleasure to watch. Leesville’s senior chorus members will be missed–yet it is obvious that the talented younger members will rise to the occasion and continue the impeccable legacy of the Leesville Choral Department.