Choir wraps up semester with series of performances
The convocation on April 11 can be seen as something of a warmup for the Bethel College Concert Choir, moving into the busy weeks ahead. The performance, fulfilling a long tradition of choir performances at convocation, would not have otherwise been notable, had it not been for the fact that it witnessed several important landmarks.
It was the first “proper” performance by the choir for two years, since the beginning of the pandemic. They were able to sing indoors without masks, and in mixed arrangement. This convocation performance was also the last that would be presided over by long standing choirmaster William Eash, who will be retiring at the end the academic year after twenty two years at the College.
Together with several other events, such as the recent women’s chorus concert and the upcoming “Woven-Road” performance, there are two major events remaining in the choral calendar. The first will be the “Masterworks” concert, set to take place on May 1st. This has been the main focus of the choir throughout this semester. This annual event will return in its full format for the first time since 2019 - there was a smaller scale production involving only two movements of Wolfgang Mozart’s “Requiem” - in May last year.
The famous Requiem will return this year in its full 40 minute format, accompanied by the more modern “Gloria”, by John Rutter. The performance will involve the concert choir, combined with the women’s chorus, and accompanied by elements of the College orchestra.
Rehearsals have been demanding, considering all the other commitments the choir has, and will only become more so, with several three hour rehearsals scheduled in the run up to May 1st.
All of this is however taking place in the shadow of a larger goal - the European Choir Tour, which will begin after the end of the academic year. This tour will encompass multiple European nations, including Germany, Poland and several Balkan states - starting in Berlin and finishing on the Adriatic coast. Though there are concerns regarding the ongoing war in Ukraine, which neighbors Poland to the east, the choir members nevertheless await their trip with eager anticipation.
Stephany Meyer, Junior from Goessel, said that she was “most excited to visit Poland, because I’ve been reading about its history.” Though her own reading, of “Poland,” by James A.Michener, was extracurricular, all of the tour members have been assigned certain topics (on famous events, places and people in European history) to research and write papers about prior to their travel. The choir will visit many of these places whilst on their tour, guided by Bethel’s resident European expert, Professor Mark Jantzen.
In that same vein, Seth Rudeen, Junior from Osage City, said he was “most looking forward to the home stays - interacting with real people will be a great way to witness all the European culture we’re learning about, in real life.”
Rachel Geyer, Junior from Oxford, Iowa, also looks forward to forming new relationships, though hers are closer to home. “I’m really excited to spend time with the choir…I feel as though I haven’t been able to form good relationships with many of my fellow singers through the pandemic, and the tour will be the perfect time to do that.”
Make sure to make it as many of the upcoming musical performances as possible. They will be awesome!