UA Choirs put on “Roots and Wings” performance


Nicholas Summers

UA Concert Choir performing at Guzzetta Recital Hall

By Nicholas Summers, Arts & Life Editor

The University of Akron Men’s Chorus and Women’s Chamber Choir held a concert entitled “Roots and Wings” at Guzzetta Recital Hall on Sunday, Oct. 19 along with their new director, Marie Bucoy-Calavan.

Starting at 7:30 p.m., the Recital Hall had full seats and even had to require some guests to stand in the back. Programs even ran out ten minutes before the show started.

“This evening’s choral concert is in homage to this idea [origins and new territory]: a program of choral music that shows both a foundation in tradition and old musical forms, but also presents old forms in a new and innovative light,” Bucoy-Calavan said.

The 13 members of the Men’s Chorus began the concert with a song composed by Edward Grieg, “Brothers Sing On.” The harmony of the chorus really amplified the notes throughout the song and filled the hall with their pitch. Although their first two songs were slow paced, their final song “De Animals A-Comin’,” was a quick tempo, fun-filled song. With a new member of the chorus responding to the refrain each stanza of the song, adding humor to the song and getting laughs from the audience during the composition.

After the Men’s Chorus performed, the Women’s Chamber Choir took the stage to give a more multicultural performance. Starting with a Japanese children’s song, “Hotaru Koi.” This high-pitched tune is about the tradition in Japan about firefly hunting and the adventure of it. They not only sang a song in Japanese, but then went on to perform four German songs by the composer Johannes Brahms. “Brahms was a composer that married music tradition with the newer elements of music as well,” Bucoy-Calavan said. As they performed the German pieces, two French horns, played by Kyle Sunday and Ben Hottensmith, accompanied the Women’s Chamber Choir along with a harp played by Nancy Patterson. Singing in different languages didn’t seem to matter to the choir as they worked and stayed in harmony throughout each song.

Their final song was “The Road Home,” which was composed in 1949 by Stephen Paulus and written by Michael Dennis Brown. This slower paced song had a solo performed by Kim Brenstuhl where she reached very high-pitched notes that other members of the choir didn’t seem able to reach. This was the final piece of their performance before UA’s Concert Choir was brought to the stage.

The Concert Choir is just a mix of the Women’s Chamber Choir and Men’s Chorus, to come together as a 36 member choir with tenors, bassists, altos, and sopranos. They proceeded to sing seven pieces that varied from the 16th through the 20th century with an enormous but well tuned sound from each section of the choir. This time, the choir sang in Italian along with performing traditional American Folk pieces as well.