REVIEW: Beethoven’s Mass in C Major

The evening of November 16th at Hill Auditorium allowed for a beautiful night of music from the University of Michigan’s SMTD Choirs. University Choir, Orpheus Singers, and Chamber Choir dazzled audiences with Beethoven’s Mass in C major, Op 86. This performance was conducted by Eugene Rogers and featured many soloists from the chorus.

The majority of this was performed by the Chamber Choir, with additional support from Orpheus Singers and the University Choir joining during grandiose moments. The Chamber Choir is the most advanced choir at the University, featuring some of the best singers in Ann Arbor. [From smtd.umich.edu] “The Chamber Choir performs 6-8 concerts annually in both Hill Auditorium and in special settings, such as the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA), and is often featured at high profile U-M special events. The Chamber Choir has been featured on GRAMMY-winning and GRAMMY-nominated albums; sung with the Detroit and Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestras; performed at conventions of the ACDA and NCCO; and has toured internationally. They perform standard, classical, and contemporary choral works and often perform commissioned works in world premieres.” They remain a high-profile collegiate choir with free concerts throughout the year! 

The orchestra that played this evening with the choir was lovely. A full choir performing with an orchestra is always a treat—the sound was unmatched. The combined choirs emit a mighty sound, with well over 100 singers from the music school present.  I appreciated the sound provided by the space in Hill Auditorium—it was properly fitting for the group. The blend was well-balanced from the balcony, and I received most of the Latin diction throughout. The work sounded regal in its orchestration, which was fitting for the period and intention.

I’d like to name each soloist from the mass to commend them for fantastic work: Tyler Middleton (MM 25), Amante Pando Girard (BM 24), Juliet Schleffer (MM 24), Amber Rogers (MM 25), Bryan Ijames (DMA Choral Conducting), Jabari Lewis (MM Vocal Performance 25), Genevieve Welsh (MM Choral Conducting 24), Pelagia Pamel (BM Voice 24). Each voice dazzled through the orchestra’s texture, presenting a nuanced sound to the traditional work. I admired their preparation and stamina throughout the performance!

I appreciate Dr. Roger’s thoughtful selections for the choirs, I always find them appropriate and culturally educational. This performance wraps up the 2023 season for the SMTD Choirs. They will be back in January performing at The School of Music, Theater, and Dance’s biggest event of the year, Collage. This will take place on January 20th at 8 pm, in the historic Hill Auditorium. This annual concert is a showcase of all the brilliant work throughout SMTD. It is a “collage” of the music student’s “collage” experience, if you will. It is a highly anticipated event throughout the community and often attracts over 3000 audience members. Get your tickets early!

 

 

 

Image thanks to The University of Michigan’s SMTD Livestream. 

Review – True Blue: A Tribute to Michigan!

If you have ever felt the pride of being a Michigan Wolverine, being at this event magnified that feeling by 100%.  True Blue!  A Tribute to Michigan brought together those who share the love and passion of two colors: maize and blue.  Some of the biggest celebrities were on the stage of Hill Auditorium, telling their stories of their time at the University of Michigan, and everything that they have accomplished after graduating with a U of M diploma.

Tribute to Ann Arbor squirrels (Photo Credit: Matt Weigand)

There were so many amazing performances that I will do an overview.  Many videos were played throughout the night including ones of the history of U of M, the Diag, the Ann Arbor squirrels (my personal favorite), U of M couples, Bo Schembechler’s “The Team” speech, U of M professors, and the alumni.

“The Victors” performed by the Department of Musical Theatre Majors (Photo Credit: Scott C. Soderberg)

The Jazz Ensemble played a nice medley of “Michigan Through the Ages”.  The Department of Musical Theatre Majors did a stunning rendition of “The Victors” that definitely made me tear up a little as I felt the pride of being a Michigan wolverine.  The Department of Theatre & Drama Acting Majors performed multiple pieces such as “Catholepistemiad Rap” about the history of U of M, “Clarence Darrow and the Ossian Sweet Trial” alongside Emeritus Professor of Voice George Shirley, and “Tribute to Activism”.  The Michigan Men’s Glee Club sang a chilling “Glory” from the movie Selma and “I Remember, My Michigan”.  The Contemporary Directions Ensemble played multiple pieces such as “The Little Victors”, “Concerto for Two Violins”, “Back to Michigan”, and the cellists played a “Tribute to Raoul Wallenberg”.

The Friars and Theatre & Drama Acting Majors in the tribute to the Engineering Arch (Photo Credit: Matt Weigand)

The Friars made an appearance to sing “In the Still of the Night” as a hilarious tribute to the Engineering Arch, in which Theatre & Drama Acting majors acted out couples walking through the “arch”.  The Department of Dance Troupe performed “The Little Victors”.  The RFD Boys, alumni of U of M, played a “Michigan Medley”.  Multiple professors spoke such as Ralph Williams, Kathleen Sienko, and also the chair of the Department of Neurosurgery Dr. Karin Muraszko.  “The University” was sung by the University Chamber Choir.  Shortly after, the Michigan Marching Band flooded the stage performing all of the classics: “Victors Valiant”, “The Yellow and Blue”, and “Michigan Fanfare and The Victors”.

Emcee Darren Criss (Photo Credit: Robert Buechler)

The emcees included actors Darren Criss and Jacqueline Tobini, neurosurgeon and medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and NBC sportscaster Andrea Joyce, all of which are U of M alumni.  Other famous alumni speakers included: Civil Rights activist Cecilia Munoz, mayor of Ann Arbor Christopher Taylor, sports legends Desmond Howard and Jim Harbaugh, Broadway producer

Alumni and football legend Desmond Howard with other U-M sports legends onstage (Photo Credit: Scott C. Soderberg)

Jeffrey Seller, space explorers Afred Worder, Kiko Dontchev, Steve Walton, Mike Hess, and Hashmita Koka, Zingerman’s co-founder Ari Weinzweig, co-founder of Americans Committed to World Responsibility Judy Guskin, and of course U of M’s President Dr. Mark Schlissel.

This event was absolutely extraordinary and I couldn’t be more proud to be a wolverine!  Go Blue!!!

Football coach and alumni Jim Harbaugh (Photo Credit: Matt Weigand)

Upcoming Bicentennial events include:

June 26 & October 26: President’s Bicentennial Colloquia

June 26-27: UMich200 Summer Festival

August 26: U-M’s 200th Birthday

September 15: Detroit Festival

October 26-28: UMich200 Fall Festival

For more information: bicentennial.umich.edu

PREVIEW: Ecstasy and Fantasy

Ecstasy and Fantasy

On Friday, February 15th, the School of Music, UM Chamber Choir,  and UMMA collaborate to create an evening of sounds inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Faculty from the school will perform a selection from Iriving Fine’s “Alice in Wonderland” as well as several other composers from the same era as well as a contemporary, visiting composer. The music will be performed alongside Florencia Pita’s “Alice” inspired artwork. The dual representation of imagination, fantasy, mystery, and magic will surely create a dynamic and intriguing performance. 7 pm at the UMMA.