by Jessica Etemadi
On the evening of June 8, hundreds of people quietly gathered in the Heiner Auditorium, awaiting what would be an extremely well put together and impressive performance. Music club members roamed the aisles, ushering people to their seats and ensuring everything was running smoothly.
WCC’s 2010 Spring Concert featured members of the Collegiate and Chamber Choirs, and the Jazz Band. The choirs were up first, followed by The Librettos, a comedic singing group composed of librarians and faculty from Whatcom’s own library community, with the Jazz Band finishing off the show.
“It just worked out that the Chamber Choir sang all Renaissance pieces, except for one,” said Carol Reed-Jones, director of both choirs. The Chamber Choir performed a song with the Jazz Band, “Chattanooga Choo Choo”, which was played on the radio and featured in the film, Sun Valley Serenade. The tune actually became the first certified gold record on February 10, 1942.
“It’s very old-timey sounding,” Reed-Jones said.
Each quarter a different type of world music is chosen to concentrate on. “We try to focus on a few songs from that region,” said Reed-Jones. China and Brazil were the picks of the spring program, with a piece from each.
A Chinese folk song, “The Emerald Green Grass”, was performed by the Collegiate Choir, who were assisted with the Mandarin pronunciation by Whatcom student Becky Song.
In addition, “Dirait-On”, a French neoRomantic tune written by Morten Lauridsen, featured a beautiful piano accompaniment performed by Kathy Hunter. Faculty member Anne George coached with pronunciation.
Finally, the Collegiate Choir sang a Latin tune by Brazilian composer Ernani Aguiar, “Salmo 150”, which is considered to be his “best-loved composition”, as noted in the program. The dynamic and energetic piece comes from a conductor and composer who was known primarily for his harmonic feats.
Many members of the choirs here at Whatcom are also involved with other groups. One such student sings in two additional choirs, and toured down to San Francisco recently.
“We have one person who may be singing in an opera this summer,” added Reed-Jones.
The choirs welcome all students regardless of experience or skill level, and are always looking for new members.
“People who are new get absorbed into the group,” said Reed-Jones. She notes that more experienced members often take on mentor roles, while there are students who tell her that they’ve never sung in a group before.
“It teaches the experienced to be patient and the inexperienced to be confident,” she added.