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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Winter choir concert prompts reflection

Were you inspired to try singing by the Date Knight karaoke at the Cave? Or were you horrified by the terrible voices of your friends? Do you find yourself craving refined and skillful singing? Regardless, Carleton has what you are looking for: multiple choir ensembles that captivate their audiences and often come together to perform concerts for the student body.

On Sunday, Feb. 25, the Carleton choir and Carleton chamber choir had their fourth performance of this academic year. The concert took place in Kracum Performance Hall, with Nathan Proctor accompanying on piano. The performance was presented by Music at Carleton, which hosts free musical performances for the Carleton community.

This concert was conducted by Professor Samuel Grace, a visiting music instructor. He is currently filling in for Professor Matthew Olson, who typically directs the Carleton choir. Grace worked in music for over a decade before coming to Carleton. After getting his masters at the University of Minnesota, he founded the professional choir group MPLS (imPulse).

The concert began with the Carleton chamber choir, a smaller group of singers that have one extra practice per week in addition to the general choir practices. The chamber choir performed three songs, all somehow related to death. The tone of the songs varied, some approaching the idea lightheartedly, while others took a more somber approach.

Shreya Mehta ’27 thoroughly enjoyed the performance. “The concert reminded me of how much I really love music, and how beautiful and ethereal voices can sound,” she remarked. “It’s amazing that a group of people can make such a beautiful thing happen with their voices.”

The concert then continued with the full choir, which performed six songs. These songs provided a variety of genres to show the range of the choir’s talents. The concert was named “Thinkers, Listen!” after a song by Edie Hill performed by the choir at the show. This song was unique as it was composed mainly of body percussion, clapping and stepping with only a few words chanted. 

“I really liked the song ‘Thinkers, Listen!’ because it made me think about how words are so intentional,” Mehta said. Professor Grace explained that he chose the piece because “it challenges us to ask what aspects of ourselves we can think about that aren’t part of our souls and spirits.”

According to Bridget Foley ’27, who joined the choir in the fall, “Thinkers, Listen!” was the most difficult song to prepare. “It was challenging to translate the rhythmic sections into movement instead of just producing it vocally. It was really interesting to do a different type of song,” said Foley. 

“My favorite song was ‘Holding the Light,’” Foley continued. This song welcomed the full choir onto the stage, and set the tone for the rest of the performance. 

The concert wrapped up with “The Road Home.” Foley explained, “I always like this song because we perform it at every concert, but we do it a little differently every time.” This song concluded a wonderful concert that celebrated the beauty of music. Grace explained that “the music ensemble experience encourages team membership, interacting with other people and working toward the greater good of the team.” 

“I think musical education is really important. Students can be surprised at what they are capable of doing,” said Grace. 

“Singing is such an easy way to stimulate another part of your brain, to challenge you to be a team member. When singers know each other and trust each other, they sing better. It’s just a really special experience that I think everyone should try once.” Grace extrapolated these benefits to involvement in music as a whole: “There’s something about music that helps you access another part of your personhood.” 

For students who find themselves interested in music but have yet to get involved at Carleton, Grace strongly encourages joining the choir, citing the strong community of students and academic benefits that students can take away from the program. 

“If anyone has ever been curious about singing before, they should definitely consider auditioning for choir!”

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