Trinity University Choir
St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church
Sunday, February 25, 2001
Fine Arts 1101-A2, Music
Bro. Michael Sullivan, S.M.
St. Mary’s University
Trinity University Choir and Chamber Singers
In Concert--Tour 2001
So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it,
because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.
Many people throughout the world celebrate Sunday as a day of worship. They gather in churches as a community to collectively give thanks to their God for his many blessings and to celebrate the spirit of love. This past Sunday afternoon residents of Bandera, Texas, and surrounding communities had something extra special to be thankful for—a concert.
The concert was hosted by St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church. Anyone who wanted to enjoy an afternoon of choral music was welcomed. This performance by the Trinity University Choir and Chamber Singers of San Antonio, Texas, was the inaugural stop of a concert tour which will culminate with performances in Germany.
Tour 2001, as the concert series is being billed, will take the Trinity Choir, conducted by Scott MacPherson, accompanied by David Heller on organ and Gerald Benjamin on piano, to cities in Germany including: Lübeck, Hamburg, Berlin, Dresden, and Nymburk.
If the performance at St. Christopher’s by the Trinity Choir and Chamber Singers is any indication, the German audiences are in for a very special treat. MacPherson has done an excellent job of combining songs that he refers to as, “very, very sacred to very secular.” He bridges the sacred and the secular by tastefully moving from Lobe den Herren, a 20th century piece (sung in German), to Ave Maria, a 15th century praise song (sung in Latin), to Epitaph for Moonlight, a contemporary piece that was written using made-up words created by seventh-graders. When sung, the made-up words manifest into sounds that mimic beams of moonlight traveling through time and space.
In my opinion, MacPherson uses this musical route to take the audience back hundreds of years to a time of disciplined spirituality--then into the future with hopes of having some of the old spirituality in tow. The facial expressions of those in the audience as the choir sang was testimony that this had indeed happened.
As the Chamber Singers sang Humoresque: Toccatina for Flute by Pietro A. Yon, I was reminded of how delicate and flexible human voices can be. They sounded like real flutes playing as the polyphony of voices sang in unison. Wow!
The performance by the Choir and Chamber Singers was supplemented with a masterful performance on the pipe organ by Dr. David Heller. Had Dr. Heller played Prelude in F-Sharp Minor, BuxWV 146, by Dieterich Buxtehude on a harpsichord, it could have been likened to a baroque piece. This was an excellent addition to the many motets being offered. Dr. Gerald Benjamin accompanied the choir on two pieces and performed equally well.
Although St. Christopher’s was a bit too small for such a large choir, it offered a place with excellent acoustics--a perfect setting for the performance of sacred songs. The performance ended with a standing ovation as tribute to the outstanding choirs.
In the end, the concert turned out to be an ecumenical celebration of the spirit of love. This was revealed to me through a conversation I had with one of the singers, Ms. Michelle Denamur. I learned from speaking to her that she had only been singing four years. She is a second alto, majoring in French and International Business. I asked her why she decided to sing with the Trinity choir?
“It makes me feel good. I love to sing,” Michelle said as she hurried back to the school bus.
How can we not celebrate the spirit of love with young adults like Michelle leading the way? I find pleasure in knowing that Michelle and others like her are representing our country in Germany. Bon Voyage to all of us.