Chamber Choir Challenges Convention in Contemporary Concert

Monica Sager, Scarlet Staff

Clark’s Chamber Choir performed on March 25 at Razzo Hall for about 50 people.

The Choir’s theme, like Clark’s motto, was “Challenge Convention.” The performance really did challenge convention, as the singers performed songs the audience might not have expected.

As Director Daniel Ryan noted in the beginning of the concert, the pieces chosen not only challenged the choir with their intensity and difficulty, but were all also by composers who are still alive. The Chamber Choir didn’t perform solely songs from classic composers such as Bach or Mozart, and instead offered a more contemporary performance.

Their only more classic piece was Stravinsky’s “Pater Nostar,” but they were sure to give it a unique flair. The choir stood around the audience in Razzo, creating a unique sound. It wasn’t the typical choir format of standing in front of the audience on a stage on risers.

The rest of the songs were modernized. Many in the audience didn’t seem to have heard of these songs before. Pieces included “Nyon Nyon” by Jake Runestad, “Cells Planets” by Matthew D. Oltman, “An Afro-Celtic Diddle” by Matthew Curtis, “Stars” by Edward Henderson, and “Bagels and Biscuits” by Theodore Lucas.

“Nyon Nyon” tested the Choir’s ability to sound like a jazz band or orchestra. The nonsense lyrics became sounds of instruments when the Choir all sang together. Zoe DiPinto (‘20) joined the Choir on stage and danced along. The addition of a dancer to the Choir, was a unique choice and made the audience members stare in awe. It was a great creation as a whole.

“An Afro-Celtic Diddle” not only used lyrics but also hand clapping. The Choir separated into four or so sections, each with a different hand-clapping beat to keep. They slowly built it up, so the audience got to hear the progression of just a few people clapping the same beat to the addition of multiple people, and finally to all of the Choir clapping along together. In the end, it sounded almost like tap dancing.

The finale piece, “Bagels and Biscuits,” had the audience laughing at the ridiculous lyrics. It was a fun way to end the concert.

The music choice was a great change from more traditional lineups, and the audience seemed to have reacted well to the repertoire of music.