Pacific University’s Spring Choral Concert, entitled “The Gift to Sing” after a poem of the same by James Weldon Johnson, happened at the Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center on Friday, April 22.
“We began the year with a concert and we were able to actually sing with our masks off,” said Dr. Scott Tuomi, Music department chair and Director of Choral and Vocal Activities. “The governor allowed us to do that. But there was this sense of relief and joy and almost excitement when we sang our first concert in eighteen months this Fall and I thought, ‘this is a gift. This is something that I never ever wanna take for granted again.’”
The concert started with a performance from the Concert Choir SSAs (Soprano I, Soprano II, and Altos) under the instruction of Dr. Samuel Barbara.
Following their performance were the Concert and Chamber Choir TBs (Tenors and Basses), who sang “Pirate Song” by Tim Y. Song. Colin Mejdrich, a Pacific junior studying Music Education, was the student conductor for this performance.
“It is a funny and humorous piece just about romanticizing the life of a pirate. It’s just a funny segue piece in the middle of the concert,” said Mejdrich.
Sammie Calkins, Devon Garber, and Danny Canty are all Pacific seniors and Music Education Majors who also conducted pieces for the Chamber Singers.
“I want the audience to get a sense of happiness,” said Calkins on “Sweet Rivers”, a piece by Shawn Kirchn that she conducted. “The song itself is very happy but it also has a bittersweet meaning to it. I just want them to have a good time.”
“I chose this piece because it’s more of a light-hearted thing,” said Garber of the piece he conducted, entitled “Pure Imagination” by Leslie Brecusse and Anthony Newly. “Really, life it’s just what we make it. It’s okay to be a dreamer. Use your imagination. It’s what’s gotten us here today. It’s what makes us happy.”
The Chamber Singers also sang “Our Roses”: a piece written and conducted by guest conductor Stevie J. Hirner. They also performed the songs “Dear Heart” by Dale Trumbore, which had its United States premiere at the concert, co-commissioned by the Pacific University Chamber Singers and The Choral Singers of University of Dublin. The concert culminated in the Chamber Singers’ performance of the concert’s namesake, “The Gift to Sing” by Marianne Forman, closing out the Pacific Choirs’ year. — Jamie Samson