BYU’s auditioned choirs eager to present this year’s Winter Choirfest

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Concert Choir, Women's Chorus, Men's Chorus, and BYU Singers combine to perform at a previous concert. (BYU Music Department)
Concert Choir, Women’s Chorus, Men’s Chorus, and BYU Singers combine to perform at a previous concert. Winter Choirfest provides the opportunity to hear all four auditioned choirs. (BYU Music Department)

BYU’s four auditioned choirs are well seasoned and eager to showcase their most recent repertoire. Concert Choir, Women’s Chorus, Men’s Chorus and BYU Singers will perform this year’s Winter Choirfest on Feb. 9 at 7:30pm in the de Jong Concert Hall at the Harris Fine Arts Center.

Jean Applonie, BYU faculty member and conductor of Women’s Chorus, said that coming to Winter Choirfest provides a rare opportunity to hear all of the auditioned choirs in one concert.

“The choirs are all at the top of their game,” Applonie said. “They’re in tip-top shape and tackling some very exciting music.”

Applonie said those who attend the Winter Choirfest this year are in for a special treat.

“They’ll get a really great smattering of all different kinds of choral music — everything from rip-roaring good fun to moving and soulful,” Applonie said.

One of the most important things to execute as a conductor is putting together a program with theme and variety. BYU’s choral conductors said they have a love for the music they select.

Andrew Crane, associate professor and conductor of BYU Singers, said that his favorite song the choir will sing is ‘Hallelujah’.

“It’s kind of a show stopper, very rhythmic and percussive,” Crane said. “But then in the middle there is a very lush section.”

Applonie said her favorite piece from Winter Choirfest is a song written by Ola Gjeilo, a young Norwegian composer who moved to the United States.

“It is just beautiful. It is so evocative of the landscape of the tundra,” Applonie said. “The choir loves-loves-loves it. It just has this sense of space and vastness about it – it’s really an amazing piece.”

Crane said in addition to fresh pieces, BYU Singers have incorporated a few other new elements into the Winter Choirfest.

“This concert is the first time that the BYU Singers under my direction are going to incorporate stage movement into our performance,” Crane said. “That’s been interesting. Our choir only has 40 people, so there’s a little more flexibility.”

The auditioned choral groups at BYU have established an ongoing legacy of passionate singing and incredible commitment. Tanner Harris, a student majoring in Life Sciences, shared his experience of being in the BYU Men’s Chorus for three semesters now.

“I enjoy Men’s Chorus because of the level of excellence and commitment that we are required to be at on a daily basis,” Harris said. “The music that we perform helps me to be something, rather than just to seem like I’m something.”

Harris also mentioned that his journey in Men’s Chorus has increased his and others’ ability to feel of God’s power.

“[Choir] helps me to feel the spirit and I love the joy that others feel when we sing,” Harris said.

Beyond the music, the leading forces who push, inspire and uplift the choir students are the choir conductors themselves. Crane, who joined the BYU faculty this year, said his greatest joy in teaching comes from the students.

“They are so bright, intelligent, hard-working and kind. They really make it a pleasure to be here,” Crane said.

Tickets for this performance are currently sold out. More information regarding Winter Choirfest can be found online or at the ticket office in the Franklin S. Harris Fine Arts Center.

 

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