By Abigail Frisoli
For many audience members who attended “Choral Masterworks” on Saturday, March 24, they were able to relate to Pioneer Choir’s performance of Moses Hogan’s “Music Down in My Soul.”
“Choral Masterworks” is an annual concert held by the Sacred Heart University Choral Program. This concert is different from their others because the selected repertoire is pulled from various cultures and languages from different periods of history.
“It is a unique opportunity for students and the choral faculty to focus on more challenging and gratifying material than some of our other concerts that focus more on pop music,” said Assistant Director of Choral Programs Thomas Cuffari. “The repertoire for this concert is usually not initially embraced by everyone in the choir, as it isn’t accessible at first. But after a lot of studying and rehearsing the music, many members of our choir come to enjoy the experience of preparing the ‘Masterworks’ concert, most of all.”
All seven of Sacred Heart’s choirs participate in this concert: Pioneer, SHU L.O.V.E., SHUpermen, Concert Choir, Blended Hearts, 4 Heart Harmony, and Liturgical Choir.
“Choral Masterworks” took place in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit instead of the Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts, which is the traditional concert venue.
“The acoustics are much better in the chapel for singing, but it is also a much more intimate experience,” said Choir President, junior Sarah Riccio, who is a member of SHU L.O.V.E. and Pioneer Choir. “You can see your audience, the size of the actual place is smaller, and this causes much more of a give and take between the audience and the performers.”
Other choir members also find the Chapel of the Holy Spirit less intimidating.
“Performing in the Edgerton, it feels like there is a little bit more pressure because of the bigger space and typically bigger audience. The lights, the echo of voice, and not being able to see the audience—it can be scary not knowing,” said senior CJ Cofrancesco, who is a member of 4 Heart Harmony and Concert Choir.
Although there were a few snow days, it did not affect the choir’s readiness.
“Snow days happen every year from January until March when we have our ‘Masterworks’ concert. We take this into account when we decide how many rehearsals are planned in order to be ready to perform,” said Cuffari.
There are ways for students to practice their parts, even when there is not rehearsal. Sheet music and rehearsal audio tracks are uploaded to Blackboard so that it is easy for the singers to rehearse on their own time.
“I like being challenged vocally and I like to be exposed to new music that isn’t what you just hear on the radio,” said Riccio. “Music that we sing at this concert has such beautiful moments where there is a suspension and it just rings. Those small moments are really what make singing amazing—being able to have each part come together on a chord and create an emotional moment.”
Many audience members enjoyed the concert and look forward to future performances.
“I was impressed by the collective ability to hold key, and all-in-all it was a very good performance,” said sophomore Harrison Corr. “I’m excited to see what else the choir has to offer in the future.”