Fall Choral Concert warms White Concert Hall

Trish Peterson

The Washburn Fall Choral Concert was a hit, to say the least, with audience and singers alike.  Special guests Topeka High School Robed Choir and Madrigals joined the Washburn Choir, Washburn Singers and Washburn Women’s Choir, 3 p.m. Sunday October 24, in White Concert Hall presented by the Washburn University Department of Music.  This is the second year that an area high school has been invited to sing at the fall concert.

Dr. Kevin Kellim, director for the Washburn Choir, Washburn Singers and Washburn Women’s Choir was accompanied by Margarie O’Konskie and Char Taggart.  Kellim chose an array of songs this year, featuring an Italian piece by Francesca Caccini, a Russian piece by A.V. Sveshnikov and Bach (Again) one of the sacred songs published by Bach.

The Washburn Women’s Choir performed Aure Volanti  (“Wandering Breezes”) by Francesca Caccini, a Polish composer and performer from the 1600’s. This song included three flutists Ashley Hauser, Jana Havens and Kathryn Meehan. They followed with “Bonny Wood Green” a ballad from WWI that is still sung in Irish Pubs around the world today.

The Topeka High School Madrigals performed next singing four various songs all that had to do with love. Among the songs included was “Au Joli Jeu Du Pousse Avant” (“A Jolly Game of Pressing”) a French piece from Clement Janequin.

Kellim likes to change things up a little, according to Senior Rita Hrenchir Washburn Music Major. She is in the Washburn Singers and Washburn Choir, and sings soprano.  During two performances Kellim would have the singers stand in various parts of the concert hall, not on the stage.  For “This Little Light O’ Mine” sung by Washburn Singers they stood along the aisles, and the Washburn Choir sang “Let Thy Holy Presence” in the very back of the room, each time with Kellim directing from the middle. This created a very interesting sound and the crowd enjoyed the change as well.

“I really enjoy the Russian piece that the Washburn Choir performs,” said Hrenchir. “In Washburn Singers we have some really gorgeous songs, in particular I enjoy a spirited song called Heartland, that has some really nice moments.”

The Topeka High School Robed Choir accompanied by Donna Osbourn and directed by Steve Eubanks sang four songs including “Kyrie” a requiem as told by W.A. Mozart; “The Stars are With the Voyager” by Victor Johnson; “Eldorado” an Edgar Allan Poe poem as sang by Emma Lou Diemer; and the traditional spiritual “Elijah Rock”.

The Washburn Choir sang six songs, including the spiritual “Come, Let Us Sing to the Lord” by Rene Clausen; “Afternoon On a Hill” composed by an American named Eric William Barnum; and “Think On Me” a poem by Mary, Queen of Scots arranged by James Mulholland. The crowd favorite was the Russian piece “Solov’em zaletnym” (“Bird Of Youth”) arranged by A.V. Sveshnikov.  This featured Rick Huffman as soloist who did a superb job throughout the song.

The combined choirs performed an excellent encore of “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” a spiritual that moved the audience to a standing ovation. They were directed by Steve Eubank and accompanied by Dr. Robert Jacoby on the organ.

“What was there not to like?” said Washburn alumna Talahya Stovall-Reid when asked what she liked about Sunday’s performance. “It was phenomenal, I loved the whole thing.”