Although the Hillsdale College Choir and Chamber Choir typically perform with limited accompaniment, a variety of instrumentalists, from cellists and harpists to marimbas and an alto flute, will join them this weekend.
Both choirs perform their annual spring concerts from 3 – 5 p.m. Sunday at College Baptist Church.
String, percussion, brass, and woodwind instruments will accompany the choirs during their rendition of “Jubilate Deo.” The choirs perform Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina’s “Pope Marcellus Mass” acapella.
Susena Finegan, a senior music major who has been in both choirs since her freshman year, said she thinks live accompaniment adds a new dimension to the music.
“I really love singing acapella. When you really hit those notes, and it doesn’t go sharp or flat, I think it sounds really great without accompaniment,” Finegan said. “But I do think that adding a small orchestra does adds another element to the music.”
The concert will feature “Jubilate Deo” composed by Dan Forrest. Inspired by the verse in Psalm 100 “O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands,” the work takes 45 minutes to perform and is sung in a mix of seven different languages.
“There is a real positive spirit with this piece,” James Holleman, the chairman of the music department, said. “It is going to be a real high energy and real positive concert.”
Despite the positivity of “Jubilate Deo,” Finegan said she thinks the highlight of the concert will be the pieces composed by Palestrina.
“We are doing a few pieces from ‘Kyrie Eleison’ by Palestrina, and I think those pieces are just beautiful,” Finegan said. “I think it is really going to impact the audience.”
During the concert, seniors from both choirs will be recognized. Ten of the 29 members of the Chamber Choir will be graduating this spring.
“The seniors have been a tight-knit group, and they have been a strong group of leaders,” Holleman said. “We will miss them, but that next group is going to step right up and try to fill those shoes. They usually do.”
Both choirs also began recording a promotional CD this week. The CD will consist of seven acapella pieces and will be distributed to donors in the fall of 2019 as a part of a capital campaign conducted by the Office for Institutional Advancement. Holleman said the money raised by the capital campaign will primarily be used to fund student scholarships.
“We want to stand in service with the institution and help with this campaign,” Holleman said. “There is basically a theme that runs through the CD about why we sing, why we are artists, and why it is important to us.”