Save the Music: Collegiate Style

07May09
Concert Choir poses for a picture after their final concert on Sunday, April 26th, 2009.

Concert Choir poses for a picture after its final concert on Sunday, April 26th, 2009. The choir is under the direction of Chester Alwes.

After the University of Illinois Concert Choir finished the last note of Shenandoah, finding a dry eye in the first row was nearly impossible.  No, people were not crying because they were feet away from celebrities.  Tears were shed for a very different reason.

Titled “Zum Schluss: A Farewell Concert,” the Concert Choir’s spring concert was the final concert that will be given by the choir.  Once the semester ends, Concert Choir will be terminated.  Although some of the administration blame the termination upon financial reasons, the main reason for the end of Concert Choir remains that the powers at be want to form a hierarchy of choirs.  They have hopes of becoming nationally recognized and feel as though the reformatting of choral ensembles is the answer.  However, the choir, which is comprised of 50-60 students, as well as dozens of Concert Choir alumni are unhappy about this decision.  Many of the alumni joined the choir onstage to perform the last song during Sunday evening’s concert. 

In pursuing the new plan, all non-music majors are prohibited from auditioning for what will be considered the top ensemble.  Concert Choir, which has been a premier mixed choir for many years, served as a platform where talented non-music majors and music majors could come together and successfully perform a wide variety of choral music.  Now, that opportunity is being taken away from music majors and non-music majors, alike. 

Despite the depressing situation, the Concert Choir was still able to put on an amazing concert on Sunday, April 26th,  in Smith Memorial Hall.  The choir sang a total of twelve songs.  The final nine songs were categorized as three night pieces, three Jewish liturgical pieces, and three love songs.  Some of the better known pieces included Franz Joseph Haydn’s Te Deum, George Frideric Handel’s Worthy is the Lamb (from “Messiah”), Johannes Brahms’ Nachtens, op. 112, no. 1, and Eric Whitacre’s Sleep.  

Camera crews from WDIC-ABC news attended the concert and conducted interviews as a follow up to their news story regarding the Concert Choir, which aired on Thursday, April 23rd, after a concerned student sent an e-mail to the station.   Click here to see the newscast for more insight on the situation.  In addition to contacting local news stations, students are doing what they can to halt the already passed referendum.  If you want to help the fight to save the Concert Choir, feel free to shoot an e-mail to helpconcertchoir@gmail.com.  Check out the videos below to hear songs from one of the choir’s last performances.

Sleep by Eric Whitacre:

Ubi Caritas by Ola Gjeilo:

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