Vocal Groups Serenade at Choral Invitational

Liz Cameron

Harmonies were heard from the many performers who graced the stage on May 4, as a part of the annual GCC Invitational Choral Festival.

More than 100 people filled the main stage auditorium, as both vocal groups and audience members waited in anticipation for the night to begin. Singers were found in the auditorium in black dresses, suits and ties.

Markian Olesijuk, a GCC graduate, said “it’s kind of inspiring; because people of different backgrounds get together to enjoy the same thing . to share the same thing that’s not communicated through words alone.”
Viewers were enthralled by the musical talent of the performers as 27 songs were presented. Solos were mastered with skill and courage as the individuals stood apart from the group and took the spotlight.

Solos for the night arrived from Birmingham Community Charter High School chamber singers, for the song “You Raise Me Up.” Joenhel Cayanan, a soloist with Glendale College Chamber Singers, and Rachel Freed of the Glendale College Choir completed their solos as the crowd enthusiastically cheered and applauded.

“The Canary,” “The Eel,” and “The Kangaroo” were originally poems remade in a melodic manner to show off originality and style.

Singers from the Glendale College choir were accompanied by the piano to add expressions and accents to the songs. The robust appreciation from the audience confirmed that those three songs were one of the crowd’s favorite.

With the evening entertainment beginning at 7 p.m. the first choral group to walk on stage was the Glendale College choir, followed by Glendale Adventist Academy, Birmingham’s women’s choir, Hoover High School’s choir, Glendale College Chamber Singers, Birmingham chamber singers, Glendale High School choir, finishing with the Glendale College Concert Singers.

Audience member Marielena Angulo said that the festival was “beautiful; it kind of lifts your spirits.”

The Small Performance Ensemble, a pop and vocal percussion group from GCC’s Concert Singers, did a song called “MLK” by U2. The song had a lullaby feel and honored Martin Luther King Jr. without saying the obvious. Within the auditorium great acoustic sounds helped the song resonate in the ears of the listeners, with its simple lyrics like “sleep, sleep tonight, and may your dreams be realized.”

Birmingham also performed pieces that were both traditional spiritual songs, and Korean and Brazilian folk songs.

Jessica Kesselring, the festival’s coordinator said “there was a nice variety, all of the choirs gave 100 percent and were going from pop music to classical.”

Kesselring said that what she liked best about the performances was that “overall I like hearing a fresh perspective on choirs. You get used to being in your own choirs and then to see other choirs come in, especially younger singers have quite an energy to them, so it was fun.”

Jayne Campbell, the director of the Glendale College Choir and the Glendale College Chamber Singers, said that the festivals are the best ways to show the local high schools what the music department does, “giving them a firsthand taste of it.” It’s a way of “recruiting and also it’s a way of sharing music, coming together and . it’s kind of like a love fest.”

For Campbell, the best thing was the spirit of the students and the music making in the choirs. “It’s really a true team sport. What I love to watch is the students walk away with self esteem,” she said.

Campbell went on to say that those involved in the festival support one another and get new ideas of how to improve by using the comments from the adjudicator, as a way of self evaluation in a positive attitude. One of Campbell’s favorite pieces was a selection from “Requiem,” a classical piece by Johannes Brahms.

At the end, the directors were called on stage to take a bow and the adjudicator, Christopher W. Peterson, closed the two-hour event saying that he was looking forward to the next festival, for music doesn’t end, it only gets better.

When asked if she could describe the night’s events in one word, Campbell said “uplifting.”

For more information on the Music programs at GCC visit www.glendale.edu/index.aspx?page=212.