High level of musicianship

The university’s Women’s Chorale, Concert Choir, University Chorus and North Shore Choral Society performed music in “A Day of Coronations” in St. Joseph’s Abbey this past week.

On Sunday, April 29, Music Education Instructor Amy Prats and Director of Choral Activities Dr. Alissa Mercurio Rowe were the conductors of the performances along with one student conductor.

“We have three student choirs and one community chorus, which is the North Shore Choral Society,” said Rowe. “They will all combine and sing one big work by Mozart and one big work by Handel. It’s in this beautiful space in the abbey with orchestra and chorus and just gorgeous baroque and classical music.”

Rowe explained the reason behind choosing the location of the performance. 

“We need a place that has an organ, and they have a beautiful organ,” said Rowe. “We also need a space that can hold all of the singers. So, we contacted the abbey, and they’re letting us do it for free. The music is sacred. So, it fits the space.”

The Women’s Chorale started the performances with “Jesu! Rex admirabilis” by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. This was followed by the university’s Concert Choir’s performances of Tomás Luis de Victoria’s “O magnum mysterium” and Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen.” The final performance of the day was George Frideric Handel’s “My Heart Is Inditing,” which was performed by the combined choirs.

Prats explained how over 100 students practiced for the performance.

“Smaller groups as we’re learning,” said Prats. “Then, when we get towards the end, they were polishing and getting ready for the performance. We put them in larger numbers.”

Rowe shared her expectations from the performances.

“I think it’s really going to be beautiful,” said Rowe. “We have a lot of students, soloists. Both Amy and I are conducting the orchestra. We have a student conductor with the orchestra as well. I think they’re gonna do some of the best singing they’ve done with a very high level of musicianship.” 

According to Rowe, the university chorus has worked for this performance all semester, and the Women’s Chorale and Concert Choir students have worked on it all of March and April. Rowe described what made the concert special for her.

“We have a lot of graduating seniors,” said Rowe. “So, this is going to be their last concert. All year long, we try to do music from different time periods. This music is from very early, Renaissance, baroque and classical. The rest of the year, we’ve done modern things, spiritual and gospel. This is much earlier music. So, it’s very classical in its making.”