BYU Men’s Chorus ready for an ‘EPIC’ show

The Men's Chorus polished their "EPIC" performance on tour in St. George and Las Vegas the weekend of March 7. (Photo by Daniel Kellis.)
The Men’s Chorus polished their “EPIC” performance on tour in St. George and Las Vegas the weekend of March 7. (Photo by Daniel Kellis)

The BYU Men’s Chorus titled its upcoming show “EPIC,” a fitting label for its varying songs, ranging from sacred classics to explosive hits. This show will bring both edification and fun, according to Men’s Chorus director Rosalind Hall.

“My wish is that the concert will be both uplifting and entertaining,” Hall said. “I hope that the audience will leave with lighter hearts than the ones they bring in.”

Among the show’s various genres are hymns, pop songs, Broadway hits and even video game music. Each song embodies the word “epic” in its own way.

Several songs included are Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up,” “Misty Mountains” from The Hobbit, “Baba Yetu” from the video game “Civilizations IV” and movements from Mozart’s “Requiem” and Carl Off’s “Carmina Burina.”

“The thing about BYU Men’s Chorus is we are full of surprises,” said Josh Smith, a Men’s Chorus member. “We’ll lull you in with a soft, sacred Latin piece, and the next thing you know, the room is full of sound with the whole choir jumping around and thumping their chests. It is just not your normal choir experience.”

Several songs in the show will incorporate dance moves, fondly termed “choral-ography” by chorus members. Although the Men’s Chorus has incorporated choreography in the past, learning dance moves didn’t come naturally to every chorus member while preparing for this show. Men’s Chorus president Nathaniel Gardner laughed as he said, “I think a lot of people struggled.”

However, Smith said the effort put into choral-ography proved fruitful. It’s a powerful sight to see nearly 200 grown men on one stage, dancing and singing with enthusiasm and conviction.

“The choral-ography is unexpected and really gets the crowd going,” Smith said. “The crowd gets into it with us, and cheering is always loudest after these performances. You can tell they are the favorites of the night.”

The Men’s Chorus performed “EPIC” on tour in St. George from March 7 to March 9. Smith said their tour helped polish their songs, and now they’re on top of their game for the BYU debut of “EPIC.”

Chorus members also polished their songs offstage last weekend. On their way home, three buses full of Men’s Chorus members filed out to taste fresh air at a gas station in Fillmore. They were greeted by a few girls from Utah State, fascinated by the number of men in matching suits and ties.

After uncovering the men’s collective identity, the girls requested a song. They said they missed church that day because of travel and needed something to lift their spirits. Eager to help, the men acquiesced by singing Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up.” One of the girls gave her number to the entire Men’s Chorus. Within minutes, she received more than 100 texts, varying from the best “Mormon pick-up lines” to proposals of marriage.

180 Men's Chorus members on tour filed off their bus at a gas station, intending to get fresh air. They ended up serenading several awestruck girls with Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up." (Photo courtesy of Calvin Olsen.)
180 Men’s Chorus members on tour filed off their buses at a gas station, intending to get fresh air. They ended up serenading several awestruck girls with Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up.” (Photo courtesy of Calvin Olsen)

“I was right up front, and the girls literally freaked out the entire time,” chorus member Andrew Davis said. “It was like they couldn’t believe their good fortune over and over throughout the piece.”

Utah State student Annie Watson confirmed the girls’ excitement, describing their emotional state as “giddy and giggly.”

“It started with about 15 boys, but once they were singing, boys came running from every angle to join in,” Watson said. “We were so excited we even considered transferring to BYU until we realized we were on spring break and they were headed back to class.”

Gardner said he hopes to see people come to support them as well as the arts in general.

“The arts seem to become less popular as time goes on,” Gardner said. “But, they’re really powerful. Sometimes we forget how powerful the arts are. But this, especially this concert in particular, will be worth it.”

The show runs on March 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. both nights, in the de Jong Concert Hall.

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