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Live Performance Review #3

Choral Art Society Mr. Christopher Dent (director)
Chamber Choir Dr. Jason Hiester (director)
This musical program review will discuss a vocal-based student recital performed by the
Choral Art Society, directed by Mr. Christopher Dent, and the Chamber Choir, directed by Dr.
Jason Hiester, of Ohio Wesleyan University. As this was a combination of two big musical
groups, the concert had to take place in Gray Chapel at the University Hall. A copious amount of
people was present that night, much like that which gathered for the previous jazz recital by the
Park Avenue Jazz Band. Being a vocal recital, this program consisted of a minimal amount of
instruments only a single instrument was used for the pieces that needed rhythm and/or melody
(e.g. organ, piano, and cello). With less instrumental sounds, vocalization becomes a
quintessential player, manipulating instrument-like features like creating chords from
harmonization and such. These interesting aspects pertaining to proficiency of vocalization will
be discussed within four separate musical pieces, as follow.
Coming to my attention as the first unique programmatic piece was an adaptation from
African Sanctus by David Fanshawe, called Kyrie: Call to Prayer. As told to me by my
roommate who happens to be a Muslim, the term Call to Prayer in the pieces name actually
refers to the Adhan, the Islamic call to prayer. The first part of the name, Kyrie, also refers to
another important prayer, but of Christian liturgy origin. Both prayers are very vocalized and
with their own variations of melodic scales in both major and minor modalities. The stereotypical
melodic minor scale with semitones between 2nd and 3rd degrees and 7th and 8th degrees could be
heard from the start of the piece, which shoots off with the Islamic call to prayer. However, the
choir swapped to Kyrie after a few lines and thus changing the melody this could also be
discussed further if one was to research on the two different cultures and their associated musical
scales and modalities. The suspended notes, from the sang Kyrie and the Adhan, were in unison

by the end of the measure. This merge between two totally different cultural music (and musical
culture) created a very unexpected polyphonic sounding melody throughout the end of the piece.
Next up is a piece that relied mainly on tempo and rhythm, as opposed to the heavilymelodic piece discussed beforehand, called Freedom Come. Originally composed as an
English-Kiswahili mixed piece, this English-only adaptation was accompanied by congas, a
doubled-drum percussion set. Utilization of the congas, with the addition of the traditional
African call-and-response technique, radiated an almost tribal feel to it. This is to say that local
Africans like the Masai people Ive met during my internship in Kenya were very friendly within
their own society once you got to know them, you were a part of it. Their friendliness and
contribution to one another, and the tribe, could be shown through how their call-and-response
system is so easily queued, much like how professional jazz musicians could mentally queue
each other for improvisations. Rather than maintaining the slow and soulful rhythm initially
heard, the congas eventually go into a crescendo ending as the choir held a suspended highpitched note for extended dramatic finale.
Witness, composed and arranged by Jack Halloran, was the first piece in which a piano
was used as accompaniment.