July 8, 2020

Chorale performs with precision as a group

By Caleigh Carlson
Staff Writer

Known as the College’s “premier choral ensemble,” according to the Department of Music’s website, TCNJ Chorale took to Mayo Concert Hall’s stage on Saturday, Oct. 15, for “The Foreign and the Domestic,” a concert that featured a wide variety of musical pieces, from American medleys to traditional folk and spiritual songs.

The Chorale opened the night with Kirke Mechem’s “Blow Ye the Trumpet” with  only a piano accompaniment. There was a perfect balance between the tenor and soprano voices, according to Nicole Myers, a senior vocal music education major.

“‘Blow Ye the Trumpet’ is one of my favorite pieces because it’s the same words being repeated over and over, but each time, we sing it with a different meaning,” Myers said. “The dynamic contrast and how we blend together as a whole is really special.”

This notable quality was clearly demonstrated by each member of the Chorale and well-received by the audience. The piece ended in a capella, and while the last note rang out, you could hear a pin drop in the concert hall.

The Chorale’s precision is a reflection of its true comprehension of the music, which can be attributed, in part, to conductor John Leonard, director of choirs and an associate professor of music.

“My hope is to build a lot of leadership within the group so that the upperclassmen can lead the lowerclassmen and be an example to them,” Leonard said. “Ultimately, I want the Chorale to be a stress-free, enjoyable learning experience.”

Leonard has succeeded in making the Chorale a wonderful learning experience, according to Myers and Lauren Critelli, a senior vocal music education major. They both said they constantly utilize the tools learned in rehearsal and apply them to their own teaching.

“We’ve both been music education majors for four years and were involved in different choirs in high school,” Myers said. “But we still continue to learn new things every time we walk into a rehearsal.”

Chorale is also a way to relax and have fun, Critelli said.

“If I have a stressful day, I honestly look forward to going to Chorale rehearsal,” she said. “(I’m) always reminded that this is why I’m here — to sing with my friends and create beautiful music.”

The girls said Leonard has given them opportunities beyond on-campus performances, like the time the Chorale participated in the “Glorious Sounds of Christmas” in Philadelphia and collaborated with The Philadelphia Orchestra.

The College’s concert also included well-known traditional songs, such as “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain,” and the Chorale’s use of staccato and clear diction made the song that much more enjoyable and exciting for the audience.

“It’s fun for the audience because no one’s ever heard that version before,” Critelli said.

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