By Kenzie Smith, Arts & Entertainment Editor
On Saturday, the Sunderman Conservatory of Music hosted “Credo: A Choral Concert” in the Chapel at 8 p.m. This concert consisted of performances by four choirs: College Choir, Concert Choir, Audeamus and Camerata, which were all directed by director of choral activities Robert Natter. Throughout the night, the audience was also invited to sing Christmas carols when the choirs were transitioning between sets. Christian Keller ’27 accompanied these carols on organ.
Concert Choir took the stage first and were accompanied by pianist Tim Foster. They began their performance with Mark Burrows’ “I Am Power,” which showcased the distinct voices of the choir as well as their ability to harmonize. Next, they performed Arvo Pärt’s “Bogoróditse Djévo,” which featured Sally Fetterman ’24 as the conductor. The final song performed by the Concert Choir was “Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind,” composed by Sarah Quartel with lyrics written by William Shakespeare.
Audeamus, an upper voice choir, took the stage next and were accompanied by pianist Tim Foster. This section of the performance began with “Shadow River” composed by Elaine Hagenberg with lyrics written by E. Pauline Johnson. Next, the choir sang Ruth Moody’s “One Voice,” which featured Emily Femino ’24 as the conductor and Sam Stancavage ’27 on guitar. “The Snow,” composed by Edward Elgar with lyrics written by C. Alice Elgar, followed. This song was accompanied by violinists Kate Anderson ’25 and visiting assistant professor of the Sunderman Conservatory of Music Elly Toyoda. The dynamic between the violin and voices of Audeamus wonderfully captured the different forms in which snow can fall, from a delicate dusting to a powerful snowstorm.
Continuing with the theme of snow, Audeamus performed R. Murray Schafer’s “Snowforms” in acapella next. According to the program for the concert, “the piece uses a non-traditional graphic notation that simply suggests movement of time, pitches and volume.” A visual of this notation was also provided in the program. Throughout this song, the choir alternated between humming and singing several Inuit words for snow. The final song performed by Audeamus was “Red and Green” by Maddy Prior and arrangement by Joan Szymko.
Next, Camerata, an eight-person choir, took the stage. Their performance consisted of three songs, all sung acapella. Their set began with “Ocho Kandelikas” by Flory Jagoda and arrangement by Thom Mariner. This song kept the audience highly engaged as the different voices had their own distinct parts but would also interweave and echo each other. Next, Camerata performed Nicholas Myers’ “The Winter’s Night” and Don Macdonald’s “Fusion.”
After Camerata finished their performance, the College Choir took the stage. The College Choir began with Ola Gjeilo’s “Unicornis Captivatur,” a powerful song where the choir’s voices filled the whole Chapel. Next, they performed selections from Benjamin Britten’s “Hymn to St. Cecilia” and Katie Kring’s “The Snow is Deep on the Ground,” which contained lyrics by Kenneth Patchen. The College Choir had a powerful ending to their set with their performance of Michael Englehardt’s “Gaudete,” which featured Fetterman, Delaney Mavica ’24, Michael Tropp ’25 and Veysel Yilmaz ’24 on percussion.
College Choir and Concert Choir joined together for the final song of the night, which contained selections from Margaret Bonds’ “Credo,” the song the performance derived its title from. The program explains that credo is Latin for “I believe” and the audience was invited “to enjoy the concert through a lens of Credo, of belief. In a world that at times seems riven with political and cultural strife, and even armed conflict, there is much to believe in that is beautiful and good.”
The selections of “Credo” performed by the choirs with piano accompaniment by professor of music from the Sunderman Conservatory of Music Jocelyn Swigger included “I Believe in God,” “Especially Do I Believe in the Negro Race,” which featured soloist Ana Maria Griffin Morimoto ’25, “I Believe in the Prince of Peace” and “I Believe in Patience.” The program included a note on the use of the word “Negro,” stating, “This term is now considered by many to be old-fashioned, even improper. When publishing ‘Credo’ (1920), however, Dr. W.E.B Du Bois used the expression as a term of respect to connote the dignity and beauty of Black people; we honor his usage.” The choirs received a standing ovation at the completion of their performance.
College Choir member Leah Nath ’26 reflected on the concert, stating, “It was really rewarding to get to perform with such wonderful people after we’d been working on our music for so long. Plus, [it was] very awesome to get to see the payoff of all the hard work of the other groups for the first time this semester.”
This hard work was also apparent to the audience, as it created an enjoyable concert experience.
“In my opinion, it was a very magical experience to see and hear all the voices harmonize with each other [and] be in sync not only with each other but with their director. It’s really amazing to see what this school of music can produce,” Axel Castro ’27 said.
Ashley Rojas ’27 shared a similar sentiment to Castro: “There was one song that I really liked, it was called ‘Ocho Kandelikas,’ and I really liked that one because it was very harmonizing. I feel like just sitting there was very peaceful, and I enjoyed the energy that the music choir brings.”