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‘The Awakening’ of a silent dream

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Violinist Danielle Cummins plays "Aperite mihi portas justitae" with the University of La Verne's Women's Ensemble. The performance featured the University Chorale Men's and Women's ensembles as well as solos from singers and violinists. The event took place in Founders Auditorium last Friday and Saturday. / photo by Adam Omernik

Violinist Danielle Cummins plays “Aperite mihi portas justitae” with the University of La Verne’s Women’s Ensemble. The performance featured the University Chorale Men’s and Women’s ensembles as well as solos from singers and violinists. The event took place in Founders Auditorium last Friday and Saturday. / photo by Adam Omernik

by Jessica Rodriguez
Staff Writer

The University of La Verne was alive with the beautiful sounds of the University Chorale last weekend as the Women’s and Men’s ensemble gave two beautiful performances.

Scott Farthing, music department chairman, conducted the performances, that included about 21 pieces in all.

Even though most of the singing was not sung in English, the sweet sounds and emotion transcended language with moving performances.

Nor did the audience need to know much about music to enjoy the choir voices, which were so well harmonized that the performance was pure enjoyment.

Farthing, who came to the University in 2001, gave the audience a little history, telling them that from the 1920s through the 1940s, the Men’s Ensemble was well-known across the campus; somewhere along the way, however, it became lost and the music department decided to bring it back.

“We need music in our lives … when anything begins to fall apart, we turn to music,” Farthing said.

The University Chorale group closed with a song by Joseph Martin called “The Awakening.”

It was about a time when music was forbidden to a group of people and how it changed their lives. The piece brought to life the composer’s silent dream: the dream to let music live. It was a moving song that brought the importance of music to the audience.

“Singing teaches us how to work in unity, and that each individual is important. Not everyone can work together if you are not there,” Farthing said.

To be in the University Chorale group takes a great deal of commitment, Farthing said. Its members practice for an hour daily Monday through Friday.

They have two different pianists who work with them throughout the week, Christina Park and Wes Reynolds.

Farthing said that he is honored to have the opportunity to work with such talented pianists.

“We began working on this in the beginning of the year,” said Sara Kirk, a junior communications major, who is also a member of the University Chorale.

The theme of the night was mostly magical choir-based music, with many songs from different time periods.

Adding a spiritual element to the performance, the Chorale also performed several Bible songs. Performance of Salmo 150 and Psalm 118 offered inspirational lyrics: “Praise the Lord” and “How lovely is thy dwelling place.” The spiritual music was particularly well-received by the audience.

The Chorale performance gave life to the music. It was like listening to musical art. The selected music seemed to bring the audience to a place of remembrance.

If a song can say a thousand words, The ULV Chorale said a mouthful with this concert.

One of the songs, “Gamelan” by R. Murray Schumann, Farthing said, was primarily for practice, and he never thought the Women’s Ensemble would be able to perform it well, let alone nail it.

It was a piece in which each part sounded different. The performers had to be able to hold the beat while not listening to anyone else, which they did precisely.

Stephanie Duarte, communications major and member of the Women’s Ensemble said the group spent many hours preparing this piece.

“Hard work is fun when it gets you somewhere,” Duarte said.

There is a special feeling that comes over you when you watch a choir perform and sound like one voice. They performed with such unity and excellence that it made for a beautiful event.

Many of the performers in the University Chorale are also involved in the “Rocky Horror Show,” which which opens Oct. 30 in Dailey Theatre.

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