Published: April 7, 2016
The University of Scranton Performance Music added warmth to the snowy weekend in early spring by holding a concert featuring the University choir and Manhattan School of Music Brass Orchestra Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the Houlihan-McLean Center.
Directed by Mark Gould, Manhattan School of Music Brass Orchestra was founded in fall 2009, and the tradition of performing with Scranton Singers has been established since then and made this year the sixth cooperation.
Although she has been involved with the choir for one year and a half, this was junior member Lauren Antal’s first time being part of the combined concert. She enjoyed how the different sounds of brass and vocal voices merged together.
“In my high school,” Antal said, “it’s typical (for me) to see the regular orchestra because they performed in the same concert that my choir performed. I don’t have as much as exposure to brass music, so to see that was really cool.”
The first of three combined songs, “Bohemian Rhapsody” of the British rock band Queen was “sang” by the Brass Orchestra and Scranton Singers together.
This was the first time for both groups to do this kind of performance; especially since earlier that day was the first time the guests saw the music.
Junior member Kristen Pasko found this experience very interesting, even if the Brass Orchestra members were a little bit hesitant.
“Because they’re so comfortable in one sense of performance,” Pasko said, “but with the singing, they were like (nervous).”
Pasko also pointed out the difference of the cooperation this year which supplements the experience performing with Manhattan School of Music even more.
“There’s a different conductor,” Pasko said, “a student conductor, and that changed the whole vibe and the performance and how we worked together.”
In the middle of the concert, Cheryl Boga, director of The University of Scranton Singers, told the audience that music opportunities are as important as sports events, and it’s pivotal to let the schools know that parents and the community care about music.
“They need to show that support before the actual threat (is) in their local school,” Boga said.
She also asked the choir members if they started to sing in middle school, and indicated how precious music is in children’s lives.
“Every kid should have the opportunity to play instruments or sing with their peers,” Boga said, “because of what they get out of it and so many schools are cutting that right now.”
Haitian junior member Christie Civil considers music a big part of her culture. She’s not only always around music, but she fell in love with it.
“I’m not good at emotions,” Civil said, “but when I sing, when I perform, that’s my way of me getting in touch with my own emotions and also a display for other people to see. I don’t feel judged or have to filter that.”
To junior member Katie Pierce, music is something her family does and passed on to her. Unlike some of her family members who are able to dance or play instruments, her voice is her secret to being comfortable and secure.
“Even when I was bullied in school,” Pierce said, “people would know that I could sing and it made me feel more confident. I just own it. It’s my thing.”
During the concert, the choir also performed two other songs which received great response from the audience at their 48th Annual Noel Night Concert last year: “Coney Island Baby” with small men’s ensembles and “Gloria” as the finale song.
Their next performance is the 33rd Annual World Premiere Composition Series concert featuring the school Concert Band and guest composer/conductor Nate Sparks April 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Houlihan-McLean Center. Admission is free and open to all.
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