Allegheny Choirs to Perform Spring Concert

The Allegheny Choirs, under the direction of James D. Niblock, will perform a free concert at 3:15 p.m. Saturday, April 8, in Shafer Auditorium. The Allegheny College Chorus, Chamber Choir, Women’s Ensemble, Men’s Ensemble, and College Choir will each perform several works, and the groups will collaborate to close the performance as a choir of 111 voices. The concert is free and open to the public.

The College Chorus will open the concert with “Fair Phyllis I Saw,” a playful English madrigal by John Farmer about a young shepherdess and her lover. Jewish composer Robert Applebaum will also be featured with his humorous Yiddish folk song “Chiribim Chiribom,” relating to the March holiday of Purim.

The Chamber Choir will present four pieces from the repertoire for their upcoming spring tour to New Zealand, where the choir will hold nine performances in May. This concert will showcase “Le Pont Mirabeau” by French-Canadian composer Lionel Daunais. Another notable piece is “Father William,” an adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s poem from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” composed by Irving Fine. Allegheny faculty Dr. Douglas Jurs will accompany the Chamber Choir at the piano for the concert as well as on their upcoming tour.

The Women’s Ensemble will round out the first half of the program with “The Seal Lullaby” by Eric Whitacre, and Baldassare Galuppi’s “Dixit Dominus,” which they originally performed in concert with the Alexander String Quartet during the quartet’s annual residency at Allegheny.

The Men’s Ensemble will open the second half with Jean Sibelius’ “Finlandia Hymn,” performing from a new edition by student Samuel Walgenbach ’19, who is part of the Men’s Ensemble and College Choir. This will be followed by Benjamin Britten’s “The Ballad of Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard,” an energetic adaptation of the folk tale “Matty Groves.” Britten’s work was written for prisoners of war and features frequent meter, tempo, and dynamic changes.

The College Choir will then perform a piece written by Allegheny’s first College choir director, Morten J. Luvaas, in 1945. “The Cry of God” was frequently performed by the Allegheny Singers on spring tours. The Choir will finish with “Pseudo-Yoik,” composed by Jaako Mantyjarvi. It is a fast-paced impression of a Lappish Yoik (a repetitive traditional folk song of the Sami people) with meaningless text, sung in a spirited and brilliant tone.

The choirs will combine to conclude the concert with the Horatian ode “Felices ter,” by Randall Thompson, and the College’s “Alma Mater, Beatissima.”

Collaborating with the choirs are student soloists and pianists Kevin Dill, director of music at First Presbyterian Church, and Allegheny Professor Emeritus of Music Ward Jamison.

Audience members are encouraged to sit in the balcony as well as in seats on the main floor of the auditorium.