Two Recent Concerts (Full of British Sp’rit)

First, BYU Singers with the King’s Singers.

We’ve had the singular priviledge of performing with such an outstanding ensemble. They are world class and yet so friendly. We had the opportunity to sing three songs with them: “High Flight,” and “A Thanksgiving,” by Bob Chilcott and “The Stolen Child,” by Eric Whitacre. All of them were written for the King’s Singers plus an accompanying choir and are exquisitely written pieces. If I had to pick a favorite, it would probably have to be “High Flight.” These words are coupled with brilliant aleatoric passages contrasted with robust phrasing. There’s a moment at the beginning when we’ve opened with these indeterminate constructs and then the tenor and two countertenors come in with this smooth legato line. Wow! It was thrilling from beginning to end.

The most difficult part about it was how little rehearsal time we got. We had a half hour before the concert at best and then we sang with them. They are super busy. It’s so refreshing to be so well prepared to tackle anything. It was really cool to talk with them after about how they do what they do. I talked for a bit with Philip Lawson about how they audition new members into the group. I learned they ask about Football (soccer) teams they support (Lawson is a Chelsea fan! Yeah!). Talked with Stephen Connolly for a bit about singing bass. Later, I was in the Apple Store up in Salt Lake and bumped into David Hurley. Got to tell him how singing with them exceeded all our expectations and that it was a dream come true for many of us. I highly recommend singing with them.

Second, BYU Singers and Concert Choir.

We just had our concert last night. We have a format for this concert that I just really love. Because we love listening to each other, when one choir is singing, the other choir sits on stage listening to them. It’s great, because we get to listen and support each other in a very present sort of way. I really enjoy it! This concert was an all British program. Singers got to do a set of three Renaissance motets and four Purcell pieces from his operas as follows:

“Dum Transisset Sabbatum” by John Taverner
“O Lord, Give thy Holy Sp’rit” by Thomas Tallis
“Alleluia! Congnoverunt Discipuli” by William Byrd

“Around We Pace,” from The Tempest
“Hush, No More, Be Silent,” from The Fairy Queen
“See, We Assemble,” from King Arthur
“With Drooping Wings,” from Dido and Aenus

All were so much fun to sing, and Dr. Staheli did a really good job of making each piece really accessible to the audience. Some people told me that the Taverner was their favorite (kinda surprising!).

Concert Choir sang three pieces by Edward Elgar and the “Magnificat” by Finzi. The Magnificat was really stunning and a joy to listen to. I’m sure they’ve been working so hard on it, and what a pay off. It was a really moving performance.

Together we sang “Jerusalem,” “Lux Aeterna” by Edward Elgar (an arrangement of the Nimrod theme from the Enigma Variations), “I Sat Down Under His Shadow,” and an arrangement of the Tallis Cannon. Overall, it was a remarkable night with lots of great music and great singing. I love singing with these ensembles. It’s such a joy in my life. When school starts to become a burden, and life in general seems like it’s spinning down the crapper, singing with these groups keeps me going. It becomes a buoying force in my life.

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