By Megan McGarvey
On March 7 at the Thorpe Langley concert hall, the UW- Superior Acapella choir took to the stage for their first concert for the spring semester.
After returning from singing abroad in Poland, the group was ready to get back into the swing of things on campus. However, this wasn’t just any ordinary concert. Dr. Maddison accompanied the Acapella choir along with a string quartet made up of local masters in the area to perform The Five Mystical Songs, by Vaughn Williams. This score needs a choir, a string quartet, and a main baritone solo. Choir member Aine Miller recounts the performance, “We made it through successfully. Dr. Madison was amazing.”
UW-Superior Choir Director Dr. Robbins was pleased about the performance as well. “It was a unique performance. The concert went really well, this was not easy music.” The performance was indeed unique, with the rich tone of Dr. Madison’s operatic singing matched with the outstanding composition of the strings which was then enhanced by the powerful entrances of the UW-Superior Choir. The Five Mystical Songs is a piece of music with five movements, with each movement the choir recites beautiful poetry elevating the audience’s spirit. Dr. Madison eased the audience into a feeling of tranquility with the third movement, I Got Me Flowers. With the smooth movement of the strings perfectly paired with the silky voice of the great baritone, and the quiet hums of the choir melted into the air like a blanket of honey cascading over the crowd. Even Dr. Robbins relished in the moment, “Movement three is my favorite to listen to.” Even though movement three and four captured the crowd with hushed melodies, and sweet tones no other movement pleased the crowd more than that of the fifth movement; the Antiphon.
The Antiphon is the movement were the UW- Superior choir showed off their talents with the strings speeding up their tempo, and Dr. Madison finally taking a seat it was the Choir’s time to showcase their hard work. With their mature technique, the UW-Superior Choir was able to masterfully tackle the quickly changing rhythms, and maintain their body of sound when reaching the higher octave of their register.
This choir created not only a performance but an atmosphere. Transporting the audience to a beautiful place full of light. Proclaiming the words, “Let all the world in every corner sing. My God, and King!” The Choir shared with the audience the triumph, allowing them to become a part of the glory of the music. There was not a dry eye in the house as the choir finished their last note the hall roared with applause, and the UW- Superior Acapella Choir took their final bow. It was truly a “unique performance” one that many in the audience won’t soon forget.
The UW- Superior Acapella choir will reprise this work at their next concert on April 6 at St. Michel’s Church in Duluth, for any of those who missed the mystical experience at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, they can now see it with an organ playing the part of the strings. It will surely be a performance this reporter will not be missing.