Chamber Singers concert inspired by seniors

Chamber Singers concert inspired by seniors

April 26, 2013

Debbie Ogle, Director of Choral Activities, is calling this year's Chamber Singers spring concert “Life’s Passages.” The free performance will be at 7:30 p.m. Monday at First Presbyterian Church.

“It is my own reflection on where life takes us,” she said, “from our impetuous days of youth and human passion to the more settled deep love of faith.”

The pieces include classical works from Rachmaninoff and Brahms, love songs of Gershwin, uniquely American songs such as “Shenandoah,” and the spirituals of Moses Hogan like the rocking “Battle of Jericho.” 

“There is literally something for everyone,“ she said.

But there is a much more personal story behind “Life’s Passages.”

“It is all inspired by the journey we’ve taken over the last four years with this stellar group of seniors in the chamber choir,” she said. “I’m always so sad to see the kids leave – but I’m not sure that we’ve ever had so many who began their journey together as freshmen who have had such an impact on all of us.”

Students who will be performing for the last time as Chamber Singers are Doug Bassett, Jared Martin, James Camp, D.J. Thomas, Austin Burns, Kristoffer Appel, Amy Peek and Elana Cook.

“The caliber of work of these eight seniors is unmatched in this program since I've been here. They are just such talented singers with such deep passion for music and they are able to communicate it all with such expertise – really beyond their years.”

Ogle said it is rare when things fall into place like they have for this group.

“It is such a gift for so many fine voices to hit the campus at the same time and then grow so perceptively in terms of technique and commitment to their craft. And for them to also have such strong artistic intuition and passionate love for the art form is a rare combination indeed.”

Through the years, Ogle said she's had many wonderful musical experiences with the students.

“In recitals, concerts, musicals, traveling to represent the college with the president – whatever they’ve done, they have done with such style, ” she said. “They've left a positive and memorable impression everywhere we’ve been. Their hallmark is excellence – they get beyond the notes to the substance of music.”

Many of the seniors are heading to prestigious graduate programs like Westminster Choir College in New Jersey and The New England Conservatory in Boston, while Kristoffer Appel will return home to Copenhagen to enter a program there. 

“It’s just amazing what awaits them all,” she said. “I will miss them mightily, but I’ll know that great music will follow them wherever they go.”

But Ogle isn’t worried about the future. She has “amazing underclassmen who are rising to the occasion.”

“They are singing the same challenging music the seniors are,” she said. “We have a freshman, Linda Jackson, who has a major solo. And voices like Elissa Morman and Alyese Wilkerson are a gift. Katie Elder isn’t even a major, but she’s so incredibly dedicated and has such a lovely voice.

“I could tell you so many stories about the quality of all these young men and women.  I’m really blessed to work with them.”

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