The Concert Choir and Chamber singers of Texas A&M University-Kingsville Music Department brought the compositions of female composers to life, as they presented the “Unaccompanied Women,” a capella music, and “The Divine Feminine,” sacred choral music, under the direction of Dr. Kenneth Williams.
Williams chose this theme because, as he explained, “women [composers] have been ignored along with their accomplishments.” Women were long unappreciated for their musical compositions during this time, and thus had to publish them under pseudonyms; one illustration of this is the case of Fanny Mendelssohn, who was published work under the name of her brother, Felix Mendelssohn. Due to this, many music publishing companies still do not have these pieces available, as it requires more research to locate them.
The concert on March 10 included work from a variety of female composers, spanning from the Baroque period and the 17th century to the 1980s. Further, it represented languages such as Hebrew, Latin, and German. This variety of language was indicative of the ethnicities and cultures among those who composed the featured work, the backgrounds of which included French, China, German, and Canadian heritages.
The first to perform were the Chamber singers, “Unaccompanied Women,” which consisted of a capella music. The Chamber singers consisted of a group of only 14 students, yet their sound proved that a small choir can do big things. Their performance of five songs, one of which contained three movements, combined with solos, created an otherworldly experience. This performance included “Every Night (When the Sun Goes Down),” arranged by Gwyneth Walker.
After a brief intermission, the final group to perform was the Concert Choir, “The Divine Feminine” which consisted of sacred choral music by female composers. The concert choir is formed of singers that are both in and outside of the music department. Their performance was marked by a combination of male and female voices, in which no one part overwhelmed the others. An example of this group’s excellence was the men’s performance of “Old Ark’s a moverin,’” arranged by Betty Jackson King. With beautiful solos, exquisite diction, and masterful execution of languages, it was a time that offered calm for those at a hard week’s end.
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