On Sunday, the full Hillsdale College orchestra and choir will give a joint performance for the first time in three years.
The concert will feature 122 choral voices and 70 orchestra musicians. The repertoire will include Francis Poulenc’s “Gloria”and Vaughn Williams’ “Fantasia on Christmas Carols.”
Poulenc’s “Gloria” is written for both orchestra and choir. According to junior Gabe Kramer, it’s a staple in the choral tradition.
“It’s really hard,” Kramer said. “It’s one of the hardest choral pieces I’ve ever had to tackle.”
This will be the choir and orchestra’s first joint performance in Christ Chapel. Orchestra concerts used to be held in Markle Auditorium while the choirs used College Baptist for their performances.
Choral Director and Symphony Conductor Professor James Holleman said the two groups are getting used to the new space and the new acoustics.
“It’s inspiring. All the students in the orchestra and choir seem very inspired to be in here,” Holleman said.
Chamber choir member Ethan Visser said playing with the orchestra adds another level to the performance.
“You need to pay a lot more attention and listen more but it’s also really helpful because hearing the orchestra we can hear the music more and that helps us sing our notes,” Visser said. “Before, we’ve been singing our part in a vacuum without understanding how it fits into the rest of the piece.”
As the director of both groups, Holleman will conduct all 192 musicians at the same time.
“To me, it’s quite enjoyable because it’s a challenge. There’s a lot of elements. There’s no time to get bored mentally,” he said.