Choir chants to eclectic arrangements

Courtesy of the Music Department

Courtesy of the Music Department

Cal State Fullerton’s Concert Choir, along with ensembles from Mira Costa High School and Pasadena City College, will perform in Meng Hall Wednesday, March 27.

CSUF’s Concert Choir is comprised of 55 mixed members, meaning males and females sing together. Most of these students are music majors studying voice as their primary instrument, said Christopher Peterson, Ph.D., director of CSUF’s Concert Choir.

Normally, Concert Choir performs with the CSUF University Singers, a smaller mixed choir of 32 people.

Since, the University Singers will be in Dallas to perform for a national audience, the Concert Choir invited two other schools to fill their absence.

Mira Costa High School and Pasadena City College choirs will take the stage for 30 minutes each.

“Mira Costa High School is probably one of the best high school choirs in all of Southern California. They’ve sung for regional audiences and they’ve been to Carnegie Hall,” said Peterson. “Pasadena City College also has a wonderful chamber group.”

The performance set list consists of an eclectic mix of musical arrangements.

The performance will open with a piece by composer Jackson Berkey called “Magnificat,” which is loud and accompanied by a rousing piano, said Peterson.

“It’s got a lot of big chords and lots of loud singing and is meant to get the audience’s attention,” Peterson said.

Other pieces include an African composition called “Hallelujah” and eight songs sung in French by composer Francis Poulenc.

This show is the third performance put on by the choir this semester, according to Peterson.

“It’s not like we’ve been working all semester for this concert. We’ve really only worked a few weeks on it, which makes it a little terrifying sometimes but it always comes out good,” said Peterson.

Josh Young, music education major and member of CSUF’s Concert Choir, said this is the hardest concert he’s ever prepared for since eight of the songs will be sung in French.

Concert Choir’s assistant conductor Matt Netto, who is fluent in French, assists the students with singing the language.

“This is probably the most difficult concert I’ve ever done,” said Young. “The students’ class meetings are two hours of nonstop rehearsals, twice a week. There is memorization involved, learning the language and learning the notes.”

Lisette Zamora, a member of the Concert Choir, noted that about 95 percent of the time performance and music education majors are not singing in English, but it’s important that the singers know the meaning. They must translate the emotions of the language through facial expressions or by acting out.

“We want to be able to perform to the best of our ability and give a good performance because Concert Choir typically puts on a pretty good show,” said Alexa Prax, music education major and Concert Choir member.

She looks forward to attending the concert and its special guest performances.

“I’m interested to see how these choirs sound because we don’t really get to work with a lot of choirs outside of our own department,” Prax said.

Prax added that the the choir has received positive feedback from audiences and colleagues and hopes to make a good impression at this week’s concert.

“We make such beautiful music,” said Young. “It’s a rigorous program, but at the end it is just really awesome to see the fruits of our labor.”

The CSUF Concert Choir begins at 8 p.m. in Meng Hall Wednesday, March 27.

Tickets are $8 with the CSUF discounted student price.

About Tiffany Johnstone