April 14, 2024

The Shelby and Ferne Collinsworth School of Music debuted its newest choral ensembles on, Nov. 4 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Riverside. Three groups gathered together to perform pieces from their extensive repertoire after months of preparation.

Magnolia Singers, Rhapsody and Lancer Chorus each sang three to five pieces on their own and then came together to sing two combined pieces.

This is the first time these groups have all performed a concert together, as well as their first concert with the new ensembles. This year, the women’s choir was split into two groups: Magnolia Singers and Rhapsody. Meanwhile, the male chorale was renamed Lancer Chorus.

Under new direction, the groups began preparing for this concert by learning to sing together as one, focusing on the text and musicality of their pieces and prioritizing spiritual bonding within the choir.

“The chemistry we have built with one another will really come out at the first concert,” said Hunter Duran, freshman commercial music major and member of Lancer Chorus.

Duran says that working on this performance has not only pushed the groups to work hard, but has also given the choirs time to bond.

“Lancer Chorus has been working hard with the small four hours a week that we get. We’ve worked on getting to know the pieces, and each other, in a comfortable learning environment,” Duran said.

Through performance and song, not only do the students get to inspire each other, but they also are able to inspire the audience.

“We hope that the audience understands that even when they feel like situations are dark, there’s always a hope, they are never alone and God is always worthy to be praised,” said Juan Castaneda, conductor of Magnolia Singers.

Castaneda said he appreciates that students do not just communicate through text but also through melody, which is something he believes no other arts discipline can accomplish.

The ensembles sang a vast range of styles and texts, from Swahili to Latin to folk songs. Brooke Schweitzer, sophomore nursing major and Rhapsody member, recalled “Jubilate Deo” by Dan Forrest as being her favorite piece from the performance.

“We blend together as a choir the best on that song and I really like the harmonies in it,” Schweitzer said.

The response to the entire performance was positive as the audience clapped, cheered and whistled for the groups. Magnolia Singers, Rhapsody and Lancer Chorus performed to the best of their ability, and the energy in the room was electric from the crowds response.

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