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This concert is made possible through generous support from the Marshall University College of Arts and Media
Laura Campbell, Amber King, Alaina Krantz, Rebekah May, Christa Navy, Mycah Pemberton, Ali Perdue, Sarah Riddle, Jessica Starkey, soprano
Caitlin Freeland, KeAnna Georges, Emily Goudy, Corynn Hawkins, Hillary Herold, Madelyn Mazzeo, Arika Michaelis, Halie Putorek, Olivia Watson, alto
Michael Bare, Asmar Brevard, Jarohn Grandstaff, Gabriel Gray, Sean Price, Michael Rose, Jacob Smith, tenor
Jeffrey Dickerson, Catver Eller, Daniel Gray, Robert Nunez, Josh Steinle, Music Theory and Josh Stewart, bass
The Marshall University Chamber Choir is a select choral ensemble whose repertoire spans music of the past five centuries, from renaissance madrigals to newly composed works. Although many of the choir's partipants are preparing for careers in music, membership is open by audition to students from the entire campus. The ensemble has made frequent spring concert tours, including a ten-day performance tour to France in 2012 that featured performance or Sunday High Mass at Paris's famed Cathedral de Notre Dame. The group has made frequent appearances at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, and has performed with the West Virginia and Huntington Symphony Orchestras. The Chamber Choir is featured in an award-winning broadcast with West Virginia Public Television entitled Choral Fusion and may be heard through available CD recordings.
Dr. David Castleberry is Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Media and Director of Choral Activities. Under his leadership, the Chamber Choir has been recognized as one of the region's premier choral ensembles through recordings, concert tours, and premieres of new works. In addition to his leadership at Marshall University, Dr. Castleberry serves as Director of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus and as Director of Music at St. John's Episcopal Church in Huntington. He is a past President of the Southern Division of ACDA and has served twice as state President in West Virginia. He served for eight years as a member of the Editorial Board for Choral Journal, where he was Editor of the Sound Recordings review column and regularly contributed articles and reviews to the publication.
Music compositions, like other works of art, provide lenses through which we view composers, cultures, social-political movements, or historical eras. When a single concert spans four centuries, six languages, and a dozen composers, as this one does, the performers face the considerable challenge of just how to inhabit each of these worlds, the diverse demands they make, and the transitions that follow swiftly, one after another.
We might assume that subjective nineteenth-century works such as Felix Mendelssohn's Psalm 42 or Robert Schumann's colorful part songs would present the greatest hurdles. Yet, to identify and express the central themes of these pieces is actually a rather clear and straightforward task, if not an easy one. Far greater are the demands of Claudio Monteverdi's "Sfogava con le stelle," in which a disconsolate poet rails at the night sky and the stars that look down on his pitiable state. And, if the explosive energy of this madrigal poses challenges, greater demands still await singers who navigate Benjamin Britten's "Hymn to Saint Cecilia," with its perfectly structured verses by W.H. Auden, paying homage to music's patron saint. Such are the tests that delight and torment choirs who dare to explore more than the familiar or comfortable.
It is noteworthy, perhaps, that many of the singers in this choir are discovering these languages, these styles, and even these themes, with little previous experience to go on. The building blocks are laid out in rehearsal, worked and reworked, set aside; then, brought back for further examination, over a period of months. Along the way, this assembly of aspiring performers, future educators, and fun-loving students who have signed on purely for the love of making music, are challenged, changed, and made larger by the experience. That larger experience is what we hope to share through performance.
Naturally, not every piece carries the same degree of transformative power, nor should it. But, each does provide an affirmation important to listeners young or old; that in whatever thoughts or feelings we may have experienced, we find abundant evidence through music that traverses centuries, languages, and cultures, that our humanity is shared, and that we are not alone. David Castleberry
Cover Art: "The Road Home" Oil on canvas by David Castleberry
recitals, choral music
Arts and Humanities | Fine Arts | Music | Music Performance
Castleberry, David, "Marshall University Music Department Presents The Marshall University Chamber Choir, In Concert, David Castleberry, Conductor" (2014). All Performances. 340.