University Chorus to Perform Spring Concert

University Chorus will perform its spring concert, “In Praise of Singing,” at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 27, in St. Lawrence University’s Peterson-Kermani Performance Hall. The performance is free and open to the public.

The featured work on the program will be American composer Kirke Mechem’s “Singing Is So Good a Thing: An Elizabethan Recreation.” Written for mixed chorus, soloists and chamber orchestra, including harpsichord, the song is a setting of a text by Elizabethan composer William Byrd extolling the benefits of singing. University Chorus tenors Alan Wioskowski and Joseph Schuessler will be soloists.

Other songs on the program include Joe Rarposo’s Sesame Street hit “Sing” in a jazzy arrangement, Stephen Hatfield’s setting of the African folk song “Jabula Jesu,” and Ronald Staheli’s moving arrangement of the American folk hymn “How Can I Keep from Singing,” featuring sopranos Julianne DeGuardi ’16 and Haley Feickert ’11 as soloists. The program will open with SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music composer Paul Siskind’s setting of “Everyone Suddenly Burst Out Singing.”

Joining University Chorus in the celebration of singing will be two recently formed community singing groups.

TAMS (The Any Music Singers) is a collective of singers who gather together simply for the joy of communal singing. Formed in 2012 by St. Lawrence English professors Bob De Graaff and Sarah Gates and directed by Siskind, their repertoire is as varied as the backgrounds and musical preferences of their singers, and includes music of many styles eras and cultures. TAMS will sing two English madrigals, “Now is the Month of Maying” and “The Silver Swan” and the 1985 hit song “Something Inside So Strong.”

Vocal Skies, a shape-note singing group, was formed in 2011 by St. Lawrence former faculty member Hannah Harvester as an informal group and has stayed together after she recently left the area. They will sing two standards of the repertoire, William Billings’ “Taunton” and Oliver Holden’s “Cowper.”

As Canton’s community chorus, University Chorus brings together the vocal talents of students, faculty and staff, and community members. Directed by Barry Torres and accompanied by Sam Whitesell, they perform a varied repertoire in theme-oriented concerts, often with instrumental accompaniment, in the best tradition of American community choral singing.