Representing Northern Europe and Ibero-America through music

Chamber Choir and Treble Ensemble joined together for a special performance

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Egner Memorial Chapel, the place where the concert took place // Photo by Rebecca Clark '23

This past weekend, the Egner Memorial Chapel hosted a choir performance to celebrate choral sounds from around the world. There were a total of eight different languages sung during the concert by the two choral groups.

“I had so much fun performing on Saturday [Apr. 2]. The Chamber Choir and Treble Choir [Ensemble] performed together and complemented each other beautifully, it was so special to be able to share music with each other in a personal way,” stated Isabelle Peters ‘24, a member of Chamber Choir.

The Treble Ensemble and the Chamber Choir switched off throughout the musical night. This added movement and flow to the concert as the two choirs presented “The Choral Music of Northern Europe and Ibero-America.”

“I performed in the chapel before but this concert felt different. We all felt really connected this semester, and you could feel it in the music.”

– Kailani Reis ‘24

“It’s always so amazing to sing with so many other talented individuals at Chamber Choir concerts, but getting to collaborate with the Treble Ensemble made this concert so special; I loved supporting them and feeling their support,” stated Anna E. Bobok ‘23, member of Chamber Choir.

The concert was also not in English and the program did not feature any notes or analysis. This decision was made to allow the music to speak for itself. Audience members took away their own interpretations of the songs with the translated lyrics in the program and the beautiful performances by the groups of performers.

The Egner Memorial Chapel welcomed students from across Muhlenberg’s campus for the performance. The wonderful acoustics of the space only helped to highlight the lyrics and beautiful voices of the two choirs.

“It was amazing to perform in the chapel. I performed in the chapel before but this concert felt different. We all felt really connected this semester, and you could feel it in the music,” stated Kailani Reis ‘24, a member of Treble Ensemble.

“Egner was the perfect location for this performance because of its acoustics due to the tall ceilings and stone walls. The sounds just echo and reflect off of everything to add so much depth and dimension to the experience,” stated Rebekah Ayre ‘24, an audience member.

Select performers from the choirs even traveled through the corridors of the church. This allowed for the songs to act as a call for all to join and for the entire space to be collected in the global and connective music of the different cultures. 

Peters declared, “Performing in the chapel is so amazing, the acoustics bounce around the entire room!” 

This added a powerful enhancement of the hard work done by the singers.

“Singing in so many languages was a challenge but also pushed me so much more as a musician.”

– Isabelle Peters ‘24

“Singing in other languages is hard, the most important thing is pronunciations and the way things are spelled in different languages means multiple pronunciations for a similar word so it is really important to put reminders on the page,” continued Reis. “One of our songs requires us to say a lot of words in a short amount of time and that was super challenging.”

Peters shared a similar sentiment, saying, “Singing in so many languages was a challenge but also pushed me so much more as a musician. Being able to sing in other languages is such a unique opportunity, especially from all different parts of the world.”

The choir was guided by Christopher Jackson, Ph.D., assistant professor and director of choral and vocal studies. Vincet Trovato, lecturer and staff accompanist, served as the pianist for the choral performance as well. Jackson served as the conductor and introduced the songs highlighted during the concert and how there were no program notes to allow for the music to speak for itself.

“I can’t thank Dr. Jackson enough for all of his hard work in getting us prepared for this semester,” stated Peters.

Jackson also mentioned a funny story from a previous conversation with Curtis Dretsch, a previous Muhlenberg faculty member of the theatre department. Jackson stated how Dretsch hates modern choir music, but Jackson’s concerts allow for him to find the music decent, and for Dretsch to even like it.

Ayre said, “I actually love that none of the songs were in English. I’m a language nerd at heart, and I think we deprive ourselves of the opportunity for so much amazing art by focusing only on the language we understand.”

“I hope the audience took away an appreciation for the music. I wanted them to be able to close their eyes and soak in the sounds, and I hope many of them allowed the chords to carry them away,” concluded Reis.

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Johnny '24 is a Theatre and Media and Communication double major at 'Berg. He loves to highlight the voices of artists across campus and to showcase the wide variety of events at Muhlenberg. He likes to think he is funny, but that is up for debate.

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