The Eastman School of Music’s Kodak hall hosted one of the biggest collaborative choir concerts of the year last Sunday, Feb. 10. Entitled “A Taste of Song”, the concert featured each of Rochester’s 19 choirs that are part of Greater Rochester Choral Consortium (GRCC).
The concert included over 800 singers from the Rochester Metropolitan area. Groups varied in age from elementary- school children to elderly seniors who have been singing all their lives.
The theater was packed with singers dressed in a variety of attire, ranging from all black dresses to flashy, florescent- colored shirts. The auditorium was absolutely sold out with family and friends of the singers all in attendance.
The concert began with a welcome from director of GRCC, and a speech by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter. Slaughter, the co-chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus, talked about the importance of the arts in public schools. She was literally preaching to the choir; audience members obviously knew how important the arts are or they wouldn’t have come out to a choir concert.
After Slaughter finished, the theater went completely dark, and the concert began.
The concert was done in what is known as a “prism” style. Like a prism reflects light to various places, the performers sung from all over the theater. Some groups sang from the balcony above, some sang from the sides of the theater, some from the orchestra pit. Still others took center stage on the traditional choir risers.
For the full 90 minutes of the concert, there was absolutely no applause, as requested by the director at the beginning of the concert. There were also minimal amounts of time between the pieces.
A group would almost finish, and the lights would already begin to dim. Simultaneously, the lights would come up in a totally different part of the theater, illuminating another poised group of singers.
These transitions made the concert seem seamless and fast-paced. The lack of applause time kept the audience on its toes, wondering where the next group would appear.
One of the most interesting parts of the concert was the performance by the Tawianese Choral Society of Rochester. The group performed a song that imitated the sounds of a train starting from dead stop to full steam. The piece included a movement routine performed in perfect sync while standing on the choral risers. The singers were obviously enjoying themselves but remained composed through the whole performance.
Another highlight was the performance by the Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus. The group sang an arrangement of the best of the Bee Gee’s including “Stayin’ Alive” and “More than a Woman.” The group imitated the high-pitched sound of the Bee Gee’s accurately, causing a loud, encouraging response from the crowd.
All the choirs performed fairly well. As expected, some were more together or in tune than others, but all choirs showed incredible spirit and enthusiasm. The choir members sang because they love the music, and this definitely came through in their performances.
Sanguinetti is a member of the class of 2015