Fall Choral Concert unites Washburn with local schools

Fall Tradition Kevin Kellim, director of choral studies at Washburn University invited Shawnee Heights High School to be a special guest at the Fall Choral Concert on Sunday. Each year Kellim chooses a different high school in the Topeka area to be guest singers.

With fall-time comes changing colors, warm drinks, fuzzy scarves, and the annual Fall Choral Concert, brought to the community by the Washburn University Department of Music, featuring Washburn’s Women’s Chorus, Choir and Singers and special guest, Shawnee Heights High School T-Bird Voices and Choraliers.

Led by director Kevin Kellim, a professor of music at Washburn and a director of choral studies, the Fall Choral Concert is a tradition that has been ongoing for “…more years than I even know,” said Kellim.

This year’s performance took place Sunday, Oct. 30, at 3 p.m. at White Concert Hall.

The department of music typically gives two or three concerts per semester, which are free to the public. Although the admission is free, it is recommended that donations be made upon entrance, but it is not required. Any donations received are put toward music scholarships for the students of the department. Anywhere from 400 to 600 attendees are anticipated for the performance.

Keeping up with previous year’s traditions, Kellim has invited a local area high school choir to be a special guest in the Fall Choral Concert. This year’s special guest comes from the Shawnee Heights High School. Last year’s guest choir was from Topeka High, and the year before was from Emporia High School.

It is also a prominent event for the singers themselves because it gives them a chance to show off their voices and the songs that they have worked so diligently to perfect.

“It gives us a goal, something to work towards,” said Kellim.

Kellim said that he considers one of the highlights of the performance to be the Latin song “Nigra sum” by Pablo Casals. This song, as well as others that are not in English, are translated and printed in the concert’s programs for the audience to read along. Another song Kellim said to look forward to is “Zadok the Priest” by G.F. Handel, Kellim said it was performed “especially well” in rehearsals. Kellim also highlighted “Band of Angels,” arranged by Jester Hairston, and is ending with “Wanting Memories” by Ysaye M. Barnwell.

“You might want to Google that title or find it on Youtube,” said Kellim about “Wanting Memories” by Ysaye M. Barnwell. “It’s a nice closing piece.”