Millersville University Choir and Chorale sing gems of Austria and Germany

Mickayla Miller
Assoc. Copy Editor

When one is prompted to think of famous aspects of Austria and Germany, as a person living in current times, he may say something along the lines of “food” or “wars.” It may take a while before the mention of classical music comes up, however, that doesn’t mean that it’s insignificant. A large part of what is recognized as some of the greatest orchestral and compositional works of all time happen to come from Austria and Germany.

Millersville isn’t going to let the spirit of that beautiful music die.

The Millersville University Choir and Chorale came together Saturday, Mar. 21 to provide not only their vocal talent but also remind the community that classical music is still something beautiful and has not been forgotten with the times. The concert took place at 7:30 p.m., and was held in the Biemesderfer Recital Hall in the Winter Center. It was appropriately called “Choral Gems of Austria and Germany” and was conducted by Dr. Jeffrey S. Gemmell, the Interim Director of Choral Activities at Millersville.

In the beginning, the conductor let everyone know the histories of the first song, “Krönungs-Messe (Coronation Mass)” composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He also let the audience know that there would be no orchestra but rather a piano accompaniment provided by Sarah Newswanger and Lillian Noble. All six parts of this song was performed by the Millersville University Chorale.

The song offered several solos and duets, and they were performed by Lindsay Fijalkowski, soprano; Amber Adams, alto; Shaun Copeland, tenor; David Mengel, bass; Olivia Ober, alto; Jonathan Swift, Bass; Honorah Harvey, soprano; Jordan Shomper, tenor; Jeremy Hammer, bass; Madeline Hearty, soprano and David Fernandez, tenor. Part IV, Sanctus, was directed by Zachary Beard.

After this, the Chorale performed excerpts from the “Liebeslieder Walzer,” composed by Johannes Brahms and first performed in 1870. It was performed in English with both Newswanger and Noble on the piano, and the waltzes ranged from eerie to happy and loving. After a round of applause from the crowd, the Chorale left and the Choir came in.

For the choir’s first three songs, there was no piano—there was only the sound of their voices. They played “Locus iste” by Anton Bruckner which featured one line, “This place was made by God, a priceless sacrament. It is without reproach.” They then played three works from Mendelssohn, two of which came from “Elijah,” the other coming from “Sechs Lieder.”

“Lift Thine Eyes” from “Elijah” was performed with the women only, and “He, Watching Over Israel,” also from “Elijah,” featured piano accompaniment from Adam Rineer. Afterwards, they performed “Lebenslist” composed by Franz Shubert, “Herbstlied” composed by Robert Schumann and then finally “Der Tanz” by Shubert.

Afterwards, the Chorale came out once more to perform two songs with the Choir, both of which were done by W. A. Mozart. They started off with “Ave verum,” and then finished with an excerpt of the famous “Requiem in D Minor,” the sound of “Lacrimosa” ringing in the audience members’ ears. When they finished, they explained that was done in promotion of their upcoming concert titled “Mostly Mozart,” which is coming to Millersville University May 3.

With this concert, the Millersville University Choir and Chorale showed that classical music was certainly something to still be cherished and adored, despite it being composed long ago. These choral gems of Austria and Germany surely will not be forgotten.