The Ouachita Baptist University Singers will present their spring concert Thursday, April 22, at 7:30 p.m. in Mabee Fine Arts Center’s McBeth Recital Hall.
“This concert is our regular spring concert, but also a preview of what those traveling to Italy will be sharing in their concerts,” said Dr. Gary Gerber, director of Ouachita Singers and associate professor of music. Many of the Singers will participate in a tour of Italy in May, including performing at Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.
“There are basically three different sections in the concert,” Gerber explained. “The first are those songs we will sing as part of the Mass that we will participate in. The second part includes songs that deal with love, loss and loneliness. The third section will be traditional spirituals.”
“We have been preparing since last semester for this concert,” said Christen Smith, a senior speech pathology major from Longview, Texas. “We meet three times a week and we have been singing through the pieces over and over again to get the notes exactly right.”
”I have tried hard to catch on to all the little details and nuances that Dr. Gerber is wanting us to express in the concert,” said Jarrett Davis, a senior church music major from Henderson, Texas. “He constantly reminds us to be musicians rather than just singers and I try to do just that.”
“I feel like God has put a special passion in my heart for music, and being in Singers fills that place in my heart perfectly,” Smith said. “It has been a challenge for me since I am not a music major, but I have been very thankful for this challenge. And, in the midst of making music, I have made great friends and memories as well.”
The Singers will begin the concert with Paul Felter’s “Sing Unto God” before beginning the selections that they will later perform for at Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica as part of their Italy tour. Those selections will include “Laudate” by Knut Nystedt as the introit, “Sicut cervus” by G.A. Palestrina as the offertory, “Ubi caritas” by Ola Gjeilo for communion and “Lord, for Thy Tender Mercy’s Sake” by Richard Farrant as the recessional.
“My absolute favorite piece is ‘Ubi Caritas’ by Gjeilo, sung a capella,” said Samantha George, a senior speech pathology major from Fayetteville, Ark. “I love not only the chords and sounds that we get to produce, but the text that is behind it. It is written to be sung in Latin, but when you read the translation it makes the song that much better.”
The concert will continue with the traditional Catholic hymn “Adoramus te, Christe,” which they will also perform as part of their Italy tour.
The section of the concert dealing with love, loss and loneliness begins with the French selections “Je le vous dirai” and “Ce beau printemps” by Mark Sirett. The Singers will then perform two Johannes Brahms motets, “Da unten in Tallen” and “In stille Nacht.” The Singers will return to English language selections with Stephen Chatman’s “Remember.”
Leslyn Ichter, a senior choral music education major from Conway, Ark., will be the featured soprano in the Singers’ performance of “All that Hath Life and Breath” by René Clausen.
The Singers will then perform Daniel Gawthrop’s “Sing Me to Heaven” before the women in the group perform “Sicut cervus” by Rosephanye Powell. The Singers will then perform “Voice Dance” by Greg Jasperse, which will serve as a transition into the traditional spiritual section of the concert.
“Nothin’s Gonna Stumble My Feet” with text by John Parker and music by Greg Gilpin will open the spiritual section, followed by “Witness,” arranged by Jack Halloran. “Witness” will feature tenor Jacob Watson, a junior musical theatre major from Wynne, Ark., and soprano Grace Johnson, a junior vocal performance major from Tyler, Texas.
Stephanie Batsel, a sophomore business administration major with an emphasis in marketing, will be the featured soprano in “All My Trials,” arranged by Norman Luboff. Next, the Singers will perform Moses Hogan’s “Elijah Rock” and William Henry Smith’s arrangement of “Ride the Chariot” which will feature tenor Doug Brady, a junior musical theatre major from Saginaw, Texas, and soprano Hannah Chapman, a senior vocal performance major from Forney, Texas.
The Singers will conclude the concert with an encore of “A Capella Overtures,” arranged by Andy Beck.
Ouachita Singers is open to students of all majors. The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, contact OBU’s School of Fine Arts at (870) 245-5129.
By Amy Lynn Wentz