Choirs collaborate for famed ‘Carmina Burana’

Musicians of all ages came together to captivate the story told in Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana.” The Department of Fine and Performing Arts hosted the performance alongside Southeastern’s Women’s Chorale, Concert Choir, University Chorus, Northshore Choral Society, Northlake Performing Arts Society and Mandeville Middle School’s Select Chorus on Tuesday, April 28 at the Columbia Theater. 

The many different musical groups comprised of young singers, students and well-experienced performers. 

“Carmina Burana” gained recognition after being used in many epic movie scenes and even commercials. 

“The ‘Carmina Burana’ is actually one of those pieces that is legendary and all around you, but you don’t even realize it exists,” said Cody Sires, sophomore music major and one of the many performers. “If you listen to both the opening and the ending, you realize this was in that movie, or this was in that Dominos commercial. It’s everywhere.”

The performance featured all three parts to the famed “Carmina Burana.” 

Orff described the production as a “scenic cantata.” The work begins and ends the same with “O Fortuna.” This particular piece is a powerful hymn to the goddess Fortuna, the Empress of the World. The parts in between go through different parts of life including spring, love and more.

“It’s about the wheel of life, and the wheel of life just keeps going and going. And when you reach the end, it starts over. A new chapter begins once the other one closes,” said Sires. “That’s what ‘Carmina’ is about and that’s why everyone can relate to it. That’s why everyone knows the feeling of love, the feeling of spring, the feeling of winter, the feeling of death. That’s what everybody can relate to and that’s why the ‘Carmina Burana’ will always be legendary and will be something that will always exist.”

Dr. Kenneth Boulton, head of the department of fine and performing arts, joined students and talented musicians on stage as he played the piano alongside pianist JoAnne Barry.

“As department head, I have to be selective about those projects that I do. I look for collaborative opportunities just like this,” said Boulton. “If I can collaborate with our students, our great and talented students, all the better.”

Jarod Hopper, junior psychology major, similarly recognized the unique collaboration on stage of the many different choirs.

“The amount of time and effort it would take to put together so many different choirs for this kind of production is truly astounding,” said Hopper.

Not only was the collaboration of choirs a challenging aspect, but according to Sires, so was producing the Latin work itself. 

“It was difficult to learn. I’m a tenor myself and the tenor’s are constantly up in the air, singing all these high notes that a soprano would because it was just written that way,” said Sires. “But it was beautiful once it all came together and everyone had their purpose.”

The packed theatre was filled with excited audience members. After ending with the famous “O Fortuna,” the performers received a standing ovation. 

 “It was just a marvelous experience,” said Boulton. “I was so happy we had a full house and I’m sure it’s something the community will never forget.”


Six musical groups took the stage of the Columbia Theater for Performing Arts,
ranging from young students from Mandeville Middle School to
well-seasoned performers. The 100-voice choir was
co-directed by Alissa Mercurio Rowe, director of choral activities,
and Brian Martinez, university chorus conductor. 
The Lion's Roar/Megan Ferrando