Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Randolph music groups prepared for upcoming concerts

Infused with new talent and energy, Randolph’s student music groups are looking forward to exciting concerts this year. The music begins with two Family Weekend concerts on Friday and Saturday, but it will continue with better and more challenging music as the year goes on.

Each group had record numbers of students audition, including many talented first-year students who will add their talents to the groups for the next four years.

Family Weekend Concerts

A Cappella Concert
featuring Songshine and Voices
Friday, Sept. 27, 4 p.m., Hampson Commons
Music Department Showcase
featuring Chorale and Touch of Harmony
Saturday, Sept. 28, 4 p.m., Wimberly Recital Hall
“In addition to having more performers, we actually have more accomplished musicians overall, too,” said Randall Speer, a music professor and conductor. “All of the groups are doing some pretty impressive repertoire.”

The additional talent is opening possibilities for performing musical pieces that Speer has wanted to introduce to the groups for some time.

Chorale, the College’s premiere performing ensemble, now has 26 students, including 16 first-year students and more male voices than the group has ever had. During the Family Weekend music department showcase, Chorale will perform a piece by Eric Whitacre, a popular American composer whose music often splits into eight different complex harmonies. This requires enough musicians to handle the complexity with confidence. “This Chorale can do that,” Speer said.

Chorale rehearses for their upcoming Family Weekend concert.
Touch of Harmony, a jazz group, is now at full capacity. They will perform Icarus, a jazz piece that Speer has always hoped to have a College group perform.

Voices and Songshine, Randolph’s student-run a cappella groups, also had incredible auditions. Each group has been working to prepare pieces for a concert on Friday of Family Weekend. “We’re really looking forward to our first major performance of the year,” said Chelsea Fox, president of Songshine.

Randolph’s Chamber Orchestra, created less than two years ago, now has 10 student musicians, including two local high school students. Although they do not have a concert on Family Weekend like the other ensembles, they have started learning a demanding symphony to be performed alongside a professional orchestra later this year. They also will perform with chorale in Christmas Vespers.

Speer is excited to see the way each student’s musical talent grows as they approach new challenges that come from complex and interesting music, rather than coming from smaller numbers.

“The literature itself is the thing that is really providing the vast majority of the challenge,” Speer said. “They can take pride in the fact that they’re learning this together and we’re going to do it.”