April 9, 2013 — The Allegheny Choirs, under the direction of James D. Niblock, will perform a free concert at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 13 in Shafer Auditorium at Allegheny College. The Allegheny College Chorus, Chamber Choir, Women’s Ensemble, Men’s Ensemble and Choir will perform individually and as a massed choir.
The 60-voice Chorus, which includes Allegheny students and singers from Meadville and surrounding communities, will perform selections by Michael Haydn, Stuart Gillespie and Matilda Durham. Durham’s work is representative of the American tradition of “shape-note” hymn singing, whereas Gillespie sets poems of A. E. Housman in a more contemporary fashion.
The Chamber Choir will demonstrate its stylistic reach with selections ranging from Elizabethan madrigals to a contemporary arrangement of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Georgia on My Mind.” Student soloists Lauren Nord and Sara St. Peter will perform in the Carmichael; Colleen McCaughey and Danae Binder will be featured in William Henry Smith’s “Ride the Chariot.”
The Women’s Ensemble will perform “Lift Thine Eyes,” from Felix Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” — a well-known selection for women’s choir – as well as the lesser known “La Mort d’Ophelie,” by Hector Berlioz. In addition, they will perform selections by Pavel Chesnokov and Randall Thompson. Thompson’s “A Girl’s Garden,” with text by Robert Frost, narrates the experience of a young farm girl wanting to work the land like her father and later recounting the lessons she learned.
In their first appearance since 1997, the college’s Men’s Ensemble will sing Isaac Woodbury’s “Stars of the Summer Night”; Ralph Hunter’s “Viva Tutte,” which sets a popular English Glee; and an intricate Renaissance motet by Palestrina.
From Mozart’s “Coronation Mass in C” the College Choir will perform the “Gloria” with student soloists Laura Mesley, Leah Stefanelli, Drew Daigle and John Hecht. “Sure on This Shining Night,” by Pennsylvania native Samuel Barber, as well as the spiritual “The Lily of the Valley” arranged by Wendell Whalum will lead to a rhythmic finish in the Brazilian folk song “Samba-Lele.”
The talents of Kevin Dill, Jim Ross and Ward Jamison will be on display as all three pianists collaborate with the ensembles. The concert will end with the combined choirs singing “The Earth Adorned,” by Waldemar Ahlen; and Stephen Foster’s “Nelly Bly,” an American favorite by another of Pennsylvania’s native sons.