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University Choirs perform live for the first time in 2 years

Members of the Pitt State University Choir perform during their fall concert on Nov. 4. The event was the first performance of the choir in two years. Dominic Santiago

The University Choir and the Chorale, under the direction of Susan Marchant, performed inside the Bicknell Center for the first time since 2019. Previous performances were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many students said they enjoyed the opportunity to perform inside a large venue with a live crowd. 

“The two pieces we did with the Chorale at the end of their first half was really fun to perform those and sing those songs,” said Courtland Reinholtz, senior in music. “They were these really fun kind of dance-like pieces.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many concerts and events. With the group performing for the first time since, all of the members were wearing masks while they performed.

“It’s been different, you know, with the COVID and mask and all that, but I feel like people really pull through and I feel like I got a good concert most part,” Reinholtz said.

Reinholtz talked about how face masks can make it difficult for singers to perform properly.

“It definitely makes it harder,” Reinholtz said. “It makes it harder to project and like get the consonants and the words out. So that’s been a challenge we’ve had to overcome. But we are all fighters.” 

Many students saw this concert as an opportunity to perform at a high level of expectation. 

“Well, I was excited because this is the first time, I’ve had a concert like this in like 2 years,” Reinholtz said. So, I was very exciting and glad to be back in, you know, with a live audience.”

Reinholtz talked about one of the many lessons that a singer learns while practicing for a concert.

“You have to have a lot of confidence in yourself,” Reinholtz said. “And just know that it’s an ensemble so it’s not just one person performing. There are many people that work to help you and make you better as a musician.”

The concert featured both secular and sacred music. Sacred music featured included “O fear the Lord” by British contemporary composer Gabriel Jackson, “Ave dulcissima Maria” by Italian Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo, “O Magnum Mysterium” by American contemporary composer Frank La Rocca, and a contemporary setting of popular hymn “Will the circle be unbroken?” Secular music included two settings of songs by American musical theatre composer Stephen Sondheim, two songs of British Romantic composer Edward Elgar, “There Will Be Rest” by twentieth century composer and conductor Dale Warland, and American contemporary composer Shawn Kirchner’s “I Will Arise and Go.”

“I don’t know if there’s there was a particular theme,” said Noey De Leon, graduate student in choral conducting. “In my mind, I think it was just getting us back out there and getting a live audience. I know that I wanted this to be a performance that looked nice and sounded great.”

Leon emphasized how important it was that the group had not performed in two years.

“Oh, it was amazing. Dr. Marchant, the director, actually noted just before this that this was their first live performance in over two years, so that was really awesome. After that we definitely felt the nerves and being on stage, you know got hot really quick. But I think everyone had a good time and it was a good experience.” De Leon said.

With a two-year absence from performance, many members had to adjust to singing inside a group.

“There was an adjustment period for sure with anybody that performed tonight,” De Leon said. “We just weren’t so sure how to be with each other after being alone for so long, so there was an adjustment period, but we got right back into it pretty quick.”

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