California Baptist University has recently started a new, exclusive ensemble called Camerata, which features students in an elite academic and classical ensemble in order to dig into the choral arts at a more advanced level.
Camerata was created to explore advanced choral art music and to fulfill its expanded desire to prepare students for music professions.
The new ensemble performed Nov. 2 at Calvary Presbyterian for the 2018 Fall Concert titled “Creation Sings the Heavenly Psalm.”
Acceptance into Camerata is highly selective. Every music major whose primary instrument is voice and every non-music major student with a specific level music scholarship, must audition.
Out of everyone who auditioned this year, only 25 students were selected for performance.
Stephen Bankole-Wright, senior music education major, said what he appreciates most about Camerata is learning from talented musicians and working together to create high-quality, sophisticated performances that sound unified.
“CBU has done a really great job of presenting worship songs that are congregational and to which everyone can sing or relate,” Wright said. “However, with this new group we are taking it to the next step and saying ‘We can worship, uplift and encourage the congregation to worship God with these songs but now, we can also be really sophisticated in how we do that.’”
Not only is Camerata new to CBU but its director, associate professor of music and director of choral studies, Gene Peterson is also a new faculty member.
Peterson said students should be prepared to be blessed by what they hear and be prepared to give their praise back to God as they can sing along with the choir.
“The acoustics of Calvary Presbyterian are conducive for the style of composition on which we focused,” Peterson said.
“Through the collection, we are really turning our hearts toward God through the texts of the music that is about creation. God is the creator of it all.”
During the performance, the congregation listened to the harmonies of the Concert Choir and Camerata.
Through the use of select instruments, scripture and hymns, the choirs connected with the congregation by making them feel part of the performance.
Nick Clift, freshman behavioral science major, attended the concert and said he enjoyed the entire performance.
“It was an excellent compilation of CBU’s most talented singers,” Clift said. “I loved how involved the director was in the performance.
“It really added to the unity of Camerata and filled the room when he spoke to the congregation from the balcony.”
When closing the performance, Peterson said, “Go in peace, serve the Lord and grace be to God.”
The concert ended with a standing ovation from the crowd and smiles on the faces of every performer.