(Posted March 27, 2017)

The Juniata College Concert Choir performs at 3 p.m., Sunday, April 2 at Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts in the Juniata campus.
The Juniata College Concert Choir performs at 3 p.m., Sunday, April 2 at Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts in the Juniata campus.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Juniata College Concert Choir will perform an eclectic musical program inspired by international, classical and avant-garde compositions in concert at 3 p.m., Sunday, April 2 at Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts in the Juniata campus.

            The concert is free and open to the public. The Concert Choir is conducted by Russell Shelley, Elma Stine Heckler Professor of Music at Juniata College.

            The concert is the first local concert for the group which started a three-city tour March 17 in preparation for the final home concert of the year. From March 4 to 12, the choir toured Ireland during spring break. The repertoire for the concert has remained the same throughout the choir’s domestic tour.

            The opening song is “Exsultate Justi in Domino,” by Andreas Hakenberger, a German composer who lived from 1574 to 1627. Next is “O Lux, beata Trinitas,” by Michael Leighton Jones, an Australian composer. The song features lyrics inspired by a hymn by St. Ambrose.

            The choir will then sing “Alelouya,” by Emile Desamours, a 20th century Haitian composer. The song is in Creole dialect. After that, the choir performs “Adoro Te, Devote,” arranged by Henry Kihlken, a composer and organist from Sandusky, Ohio.

            French composer Maurice Durufle’s “Ubi Caratas” is a hymn of the Western church that uses a Gregorian melody. Next, “The Road of Passage,” by Michael McGlynn, an Irish composer, explores Gaelic hymns.

            After intermission, the choir will perform, “Hisakata No,” by Ruth Morris Gray, which sets a traditional Japanese poem to music that twists and turns using repetitive pentatonic structure. “Vamudara,” by Dumisami Maraire, is a song from Zimbabwe that uses lyrics in the Shonta language.

             “Carrickfergus” is a traditional Irish song honoring the County Antrim town Carrickfergus. Juniata’s Russell Shelley arranged the song for choir. Another Irish song, “Dulaman,” by Michael McGlynn, celebrates workers who gather seaweed from the Irish coast.

            The choir will sing “The Earth Adorned,” by Waldemar Ahlen, a Swedish composer. The choir sings of the Earth awakening from winter. The next selection, “Urchin’s Dance” from “Elizabethan Spring” was written by Steven Chatman, a Canadian composer. The song also celebrates spring.

            The next song, “Had I the Heavens’ Embroidered Cloths,” by James Q. Mulholland, a professor of music at Butler University, sets a poem by William Butler Yeats to music. “Famine Song,” arranged by Matthew Culloton, uses a song written by Sudanese women lamenting the African nation’s famine in the 1980s.

            The choir will switch to spirituals with the classic “Got a Mind to Do Right,” arranged by David Marrow. As the concert closes, the choir will sing its traditional closer, “Set Me As a Seal,” taken from Rachmaninoff’s “Vespers No. 6.”

The Juniata Concert Choir is one of three choirs performing at the college. The 46-person choir tours every spring semester, focusing its program on historical sacred  music. Juniata choirs have performed at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. Recent international tours have taken the choir to Germany,  China, and Ireland.

Contact Gabe Welsch at welschg@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.