Concert season is upon us at Westminster Choir College! Every November, the choirs present a series of performances that celebrate a semester’s worth of beautiful music-making. In three short months, each ensemble puts together an elaborate program designed to move singers, conductors and audience members alike. The music made during these concerts permeates each performer like an everlasting light that shines through their voices. Each performance serves as a personal triumph for every ensemble and gives them ideas of what to work on next.
Our choral concert season began with Westminster Chapel Choir during Westminster’s Family Weekend. Chapel Choir is a curricular choir that includes all freshmen who attend Westminster Choir College and is led by Dr. Amanda Quist. This concert was held at the Princeton University Chapel and played host to many family members of the freshman class. It is the first public performance of the Chapel Choir in Princeton. Fellow Westminster students filled the pews to support the freshman class as their voices united in gorgeous song. Their concert was entitled “Lux Aeterna,” and it featured movements of the Fauré Requiem and works by Paulus, Allegri, and Waddles. At the end of the concert, an extremely excited audience leapt to their feet to support their friends and loved ones. It’s such an awe-inspiring time watching support pour forth like a ceaseless flood for this ensemble. It was such a beautiful concert!
After this concert weekend, November 8th and 9th were the Westminster Choir concerts: one in Doylestown, PA on Saturday and one in Bristol Chapel on Sunday. For more information on this concert, please see the previous blog post.
On the weekend of November 15th and 16th, Westminster Schola Cantorum and Westminster Kantorei had their performances. Schola Cantorum is the sophomore-level ensemble that is directed by Dr. James Jordan. Westminster Choir soprano Vivian Suen and I are the graduate assistants for that ensemble. The concert was a celebration of song, with works by Tavener, Rheinberger, Vaughan Williams, Mealor, and Thompson. Working with them this semester has been such an incredible journey for me – watching these young, bright, talented students grow each and every day is nothing short of miraculous. I’m so honored to be working with this incredible ensemble under their great leadership. Their concert was a beautiful representation of their hard work this semester.
On Sunday, November 16th, Kantorei gave its concert. Kantorei is the early music ensemble on campus. Their repertoire ranged from Byrd to Purcell, Willaert to Isaac, and a whole range of motets, madrigals, and villanescas. It was one big early music party! Singing in this concert was incredibly rewarding as an early music lover, and I can’t wait to see what the next one has in store.
The final weekend of choral concerts was November 22nd and 23rd, with Westminster Williamson Voices and the Westminster Jubilee Singers concluding a great choral concert season. Williamson, an auditioned ensemble led by Dr. James Jordan, presented a concert on themes of light and transcendence. Rooted in chant from their Oxford journeys this summer, the ensemble sang beautifully and was committed to the spiritual ideals that represented by the music. It’s always a thrill to hear this wonderful ensemble perform under such a great artist.
The final choral performance was by Jubilee. Led by Brandon Waddles, Jubilee performed well-known spirituals, gospel works, and welcomed several solo artists to the stage. What an incredibly fun concert this was, as Brandon would constantly remind us that they were going to “have fun” on this concert. The audience was cheering, the singers were singing, and the music was beyond incredible.
This concluding performance weekend capped off an astounding choral extravaganza held at Westminster. Blessed doesn’t even begin to describe how I’m feeling.