Thursday night the University of La Verne chorale and chamber singers held its first concert of this year’s series. It was an informal night of folk music from around the world, including Chinese, Japanese, English, Canadian, Australian and African-American spiritual songs. The performances included upbeat music and mellow arrangements, providing a dynamic range that kept the crowd’s interest.
“There was a great variety throughout the show,” said Kathleen Lamkin, professor of music. “The quality of voices was quite exciting, they came together very nicely.”
The crowd was quite scattered with approximately 50 people in attendance, consisting mainly of students. Although most of the students attended for class assignments, they showed extreme interest in the show.
“I really enjoyed the French piece called ‘Dirait-on’,” said Lana Carnaham, junior criminology major. “I was involved in the choir at my high school, and we did that piece.”
“It was a part of a group of songs we did and I loved them all and when they sang it, it brought back high school memories,” she added.
Throughout the show Stephen Gothold, associate professor of music and choral director, narrated the show by explaining what songs would be performed and by whom.
The performers were accompanied by Eunyoung Sohng on the piano.
Gothold and the choir members are both adjusting to a year of change. The new combination has been running smoothly thus far.
“I’m having a great time with the students, they all have great work habits and we are getting along well,” Gothold said.
The majority of the songs were performed by the choir. The show started off with a performance from the entire choir and then went into a few solo performances.
Jason Haldeman and James Darrah gave solo performances within the University Chorale’s African-American spiritual song “You’d Better Run.” Nick Pulido, Flora Yang and Becky Tuttle each performed in a section dedicated to solos, including English and Chinese folk songs. Brianna Roth, Eva Hinojoza, Jonathan Serret and Brad Fang performed solos in “Canadian Rhapsody,” an arrangement of folk songs from Canada, by the entire choir.
Selected songs were sung in Chinese, French and Japanese.
“The choral sounded wonderful, it was well rehearsed, well performed with a good variety,” Lamkin said.
For Gothold, this is his first year as the choir director at ULV.
He previously directed choirs at Scripps College, University of Southern California and Whittier College.
“No one has left because of me so I’m glad,” Gothold said. “I felt very good about our first performance; these kids have been working very hard.”
Gothold’s new style of directing has been well received as the choir looks forward to a year of transition.
The audience, although noticing the difference between former choir director Scott Farthing, enjoyed Gothold’s fresh approach. Those who have experienced both directors look forward to the new season.
“I think the shows were exciting in the past when Farthing was here, but they will be exciting for the present and future, they are both wonderful directors but both different,” Lamkin said.
However, the one thing Gothold noticed about the group was a need for better memorization, because a few students stumbled along the way.
“The music needs to be memorized sooner because some students didn’t know the words,” Gothold said.
The choir’s next performance will be a Christmas show on Dec. 9 and 10 at the La Verne Church of the Brethren.
Gothold has the group already rehearsing the songs with particularly emphasis on learning the words.
“This show will be a little bit more formal because they will be dressed up in formal attire, but it will be just as fun,” Gothold said.
In the end, Gothold was satisfied with his and his new choir’s first performance.
“They gave me everything I asked for and I’m happy with what we did,” Gothold said.
Amira Seyoum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.