ASU choir groups to share joy of singing Wednesday

ASU's Gospel Choir and men and women's choruses to perform eclectic program Wednesday night

ASU’s Men’s Chorus and Women’s Chorus will be performing with an eclectic group of musicians from the ASU School of Music on Wednesday. Joining the choruses will be the ASU Gospel Choir and a string quartet.

Professor Bartlett Evans, an esteemed member of the ASU faculty for more than 30 years, conducts the men’s chorus. Opposite him will be Julie Neish, conductor of the women’s chorus and a graduate teaching assistant at ASU.

One piece the ASU Men's Chorus will perform is an adaptation of the classic ballad “Danny Boy,” which was composed by ASU alumni Z. Randall Stroope.

“Stroope wrote and published the piece. It is a haunting setting of the text and it also uses a piano (accompaniment)," Evans said.

The women’s chorus will be performing a collection of works to honor music lovers including “Cantemus!” by Lajos Bardos, “Tundra” by Ola Gjeilo, a gospel rendition of Appalachian folk hymn “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and Dorthy Parker’s poem "Song of Perfect Propriety” set to music. The program was hand selected with a certain subject in mind, Neish said.

“The theme of the programs is songs,” he said. “The first piece is about the joy of singing. The second is about songs evoked by certain places, in this case, a beautiful tundra. Dorothy Parker's poem describes the passionate desires of a woman's heart but quips ‘I am writing little songs as little ladies do.’ The fourth piece describes the joy of raising our voices in song with each other 'I was singing with my sisters, I was singing with my friends.’”

Performing with the three choirs is a string quartet, a solo soprano and vocal trios. The audience will experience gospel and folk sounds and elements familiar to Hungarian classical choirs. This marriage of sounds makes the program special for the performers like music therapy freshman Peyton Wayne.

“I’m most looking forward to singing 'Tundra' because it is a beautiful song that has many dynamic contrasts, and it is in collaboration with a string quartet,” she said. “It brings the piece to life and (it) is just so pretty to listen to over and over again.”

Auditions for both choruses took place in August, and each are made up of students from the School of Music and other majors. The ensemble meets twice a week and performs two concerts a semester. 

The gospel choir is open to members of the community, and they keep a busy schedule performing on and off-campus.  No audition is required to sing with the group.

The concert will take place at the Tempe Center for the Arts on Wednesday evening starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students with a valid ASU ID and $10 for general admission. 

Related links:

ASU's Lyric Opera Theatre presents student production of the renowned "Grease"

Avanti Chamber Music Festival funds young pianists, brings world-renowned musicians to Tempe

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