All-American | St. Lawrence University Music


Philadelphia and Washington, DC, are the destinations for this year’s spring break tour. The Singers will leave Canton on Friday, March 15, and make concert stops at Schenectady and Bainbridge, New York, on the way, arriving in Philadelphia on Saturday evening, March 16, for a three-day stay, visiting schools and concertizing. They will travel to Washington on Wednesday, March 20. The SLU chapter of Campus Kitchens will also be in DC and the Singers will work with them in addition to singing.

The former and current capitals being the tour destinations, the program theme is “All-American.” The concert will open with two traditional 19th-century sacred songs: “Down to the River to Pray” (sung by Alison Krause in the popular 2000 film Oh Brother, Where Art Thou) and “Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal.” The major work on the program, Aaron Copland’s “In the Beginning,” follows. A choral tour de force, it is a setting of the entire first chapter of Genesis depicting the creation of the world in vivid musical imagery, ending triumphantly with the text “and man became a living soul!” Two Stephen Foster songs, “Beautiful Dreamer” and “Some Folks,” both in beautiful arrangements by Alice Parker, will close the first section.

Songs by two great American women songwriters, “Natural Woman” by Carole King and “Save the Country” by Laura Nyro, open the second section. Next comes a set of African-American Spirituals: “Walk with Me, Lord,” Robert Shaw’s setting of “Lord, if I Got My Ticket,” and Jester Hairston’s energetic arrangement of “Who’ll Be a Witness for Our Lord.”

The concert will close with a set starting with Sweet Honey in the Rock’s longtime bass singer Ysaye Barnwell’s “Wanting Memories,” continuing with “The Best of Rooms” by the dean of American choral composers Randall Thompson. A setting of the Sarah Teasdale poem “There Will Be Rest” by contemporary composer Frank Ticheli follows. The concert will come to a close with Thompson’s inspirational setting of the Robert Frost poem “Choose Something Like a Star.” Alumni will be invited to join the Laurentians in the singing of the traditional songs of St. Lawrence.

Stay tuned for a detailed venue listing coming soon.