Concert Choir hits the high notes with Eugene Rogers

By Michael Richter

This Saturday, the music department will host the annual spring choir concert, featuring all three of Macalester’s student choirs. The choir, lead by second-year director Eugene Rogers, will be joined by a large number of faculty members and local musicians. The theme of Saturday’s concert is “Songs of Love, Hope and Faith” and will include mostly classical works along with one contemporary piece. The highlight of the concert will be Stravinsky’s “Symphony of Psalms.” Stravinsky wrote the piece as a personal expression of his own faith, and it represents one of his most comprehensive efforts. The piece was inspired by the sound of Renaissance church music, complete with a large chorus, an accompanying orchestra and religious lyrics. While Stravinsky did use traditional counterpoint and church modes for the work, it also contains his more modern and dissonant style.

While “Symphony of Psalms” is the only piece that will feature all three choirs and the orchestra, the concert choir will also perform “Magnificat” by Vivaldi and a commissioned work, “O Rosa Bella,” by faculty member Carleton Macy. The choir will also be joined by music department chair Mark Mazullo and piano instructor Claudia Chen.

Like last spring’s concert, director Eugene Rogers has brought in local community members to take part in the performance. Ryan Kerwin ’12, who sings in the Singing Scotsmen, said, “It’s nice to get to know people who don’t go to the school, but who are interested in Macalester and are involved in other ways. Getting to put the singing together with the orchestra has been a fun experience because you get a better feel for the piece, and all the musicians are very talented.”

Kerwin also described how Eugene Rogers has been doing work to improve the status and quality of the Macalester choirs. “From what I understand, he’s made the choir more competitive in terms of how they compare to other programs. He is also just a really cool guy, and he’s really approachable outside of choir.”

The concert will be held 8 p.m. Saturday, April 24, at the Janet Wallace fine arts center. Admission is free and open to the public.