Laurentian Singers Pre-tour Concert in Waddington
St. Lawrence University’s Laurentian Singers will preview their annual spring break tour, this year to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., with a pre-tour concert at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, at The Old Town Hall, 38 Main St. in Waddington. The concert is free and open to the public, and the Old Town Hall is handicapped accessible.
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 and 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. A set of African-American spirituals follows: “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 Ysaye Barnwell’s (longtime bass singer with Sweet Honey on the Rock) “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.
The Laurentian Singers spring break tour will also include stops in Bainbridge, New York; Schenectady, New York; Philadelphia; and, Washington, D.C.
The Laurentian Singers, a select coeducational choir of 22 undergraduate singers, continues its 70-plus year tradition of choral excellence at St. Lawrence University. The group has won wide acclaim since its founding in 1946, and, in addition to their many performances on campus and in the community, the ensemble has toured extensively. In recent years, they have performed in New Orleans, Trinidad and Tobago, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, France, New York, Boston and Central Europe, singing for enthusiastic, packed audiences and meeting with other choirs. Their wide-ranging repertoire, drawn from musics of many styles and countries, reflects the spirit of the liberal arts experience at St. Lawrence. The Laurentian Singers includes undergraduate students who represent a wide variety of academic majors and interests.