Anthems, Motets and Cantatas, Oh My!

On Tuesday, May 5, the Choral Ensembles Spring Concert took place at Julien J. Studley Theatre at 8 p.m., where singers performed a variety of styles and periods. Performers were also joined by an orchestra conducted by Professor Edward Lundergan who was accompanied by Adjunct Professor Gary Palmieri.

The Choral Ensemble Spring Concert featured                                             performances from the College-Community Chorale, orchestra, chamber singers and the concert choir. According to the SUNY New Paltz website, the SUNY New Paltz Choral Ensembles is open to all SUNY students regardless of major. They offer opportunities for singers who have a wide range of experience to sing songs from many time periods.

The College-Community Chorale requires no audition, and consists of members from both the student body and the New Paltz community. Every Wednesday evening, the chorus meets to practice and sing songs of folk, spirituals and classics of the choral repertoire. They also practiced major works with orchestra. This concert featured almost 50 singers who sang soprano, alto, tenor and bass.

Last night’s chamber choir consisted of 12 singers. They specialize in vocal chamber and a cappella choral literature performance from the 16th century to present.

Lastly, the concert choir, which consisted of almost 40 student singers of soprano, alto, tenor and bass chosen by audition. They practice two times a week and focuses on works from the 18th century to the present, with an emphasis on 20th century American works, as stated by the New Paltz website.

The show opened with the College-Community Chorale and orchestra performing three of four of Handel’s Coronation Anthems. According to the program, these anthems were written for the coronation of King George the II in 1727 and represent his first commission as a naturalized British citizen.

The concert concluded with the concert choir and orchestra’s performance of cantata number four, “Christ lag in Todesbanden” by 18th century composer Johann Sebastian Bach.

According to the program, the cantata is a series of variations on an Easter hymn by Martin Luther. The text is taken entirely from Luther’s chorale, with no Biblical quotations and the instrumentation is restricted to strings and keyboard with every movement is in E minor.

Fourth-year visual arts major Melissa Kantor was pleased with the performance and its variety.

“I was pleasantly surprised about the instruments because I only expected the concert to be vocal,” Kantor said.

According to the program, the New Paltz Choral Ensembles welcome new members for the Fall 2015 season and will feature works from female composers such as Amy Beach and Alice Parker.