The University Chorale and Chamber Singers held their annual concert “Community Through Music” on Friday virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, immediately followed by a reception on Zoom.
More than 150 students, alumni, faculty and staff live streamed the concert on YouTube at 7 p.m. on Friday. Since current circumstances do not allow for a traditional concert venue, the Chorale members recorded their performances on computers, phones and tablets in their homemade studios. These recordings were then edited and compiled into a video.
Irene Messoloras, director of choral and vocal activities, hosted the concert and opened the event with a message to all the viewers who joined the livestream.
“Tonight we hope to bring you music that will inspire you, give you peace, and give you strength,” Messoloras said.
For the past eight weeks, the chamber singers, musical theater students and applied vocalists worked on their performances for this concert in hopes of creating a connected community during this pandemic.
Collaborative pianist Jonathan Johnson and vocalist Kate Correnti opened the concert with “I Believe” by Mark Miller. The lyrics of the song were found etched on a wall in a concentration camp after World War II. During this first virtual performance, the members recognized and thanked all healthcare workers who are at the frontlines.
Another song featured in the concert, a version of the Swingle Singers’ arrangement of the Beatles songs “Blackbird/I Will,” was specifically dedicated to every person working this pandemic. Throughout the performance of the song, footage of essential workers, families at home following social distance guidelines and zoom meetings between family members were displayed. Numerous ULV choir members were also featured holding signs with motivational quotes.
Throughout the entire concert, various choir students had the opportunity to share how they are spending their quarantine and remaining connected with their community.
Andrew Gaxiola, sophomore music major, said the pandemic has brought him two positive things among the chaos.
“I have learned to become a more accountable and responsible musician,” Galioxa said. “When you’re recording vocal tracks you have to be spot on. I have also had the amazing opportunity to speak with composers of scores we’ve been working on via Zoom and it’s interesting to hear their creative process.”
The concert also featured student auditions from the beginning of the semester and provided excerpts from different pieces of musicals the Chorale sang in, including “Anastasia,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Spring Awakening,” “Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical,” “Songs For A New World,” “Chicago” and “Hairspray.”
Messoloras also honored some of the winners of choir awards that were voted on by the members themselves. Tenor Mitchell Calderilla won Rookie of the Year, Soprano Kate Correnti won Most Valuable Singer and collaborative pianists Zach DeChance and Jonathan Johnson won this year’s Director’s Awards.
Chorale members closed the show with a new arrangement of the University of La Verne alma mater that also featured a slideshow of memories and special moments created in this past school year at the University.
Immediately after the concert, nearly 100 students, faculty, and family members attended the virtual reception held via Zoom, including Provost Jonathan Reed and President Devorah Lieberman, who thanked the choir for putting on an amazing performance.
“Through music we do stay connected, find strength and feel hopeful to meet back together soon,” Messoloras said in a closing statement.
Alondra Campos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.