Choral Invitational

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Above the silence of the night, music drifted from the doors of the Terry Concert Hall. One after another, choirs from across the Jacksonville area stood their tallest, smiled their prettiest and sang out across the room. Many different arrangements were presented throughout the night as each performance brought forth new styles and adaptations.

The Jacksonville University Choral Invitational was held on Thursday, March 15. Many people turned out for the event, causing several to stand and sit against the walls after all the seats were filled. As choir after choir took the stage, filling the hall with music, the crowd was not disappointed.

The Arlington Middle School 7th Grade Choir started off the performances for the evening, followed by the Terry Parker High School Choir, the Robert E. Lee High School Beginning Chorus, the Robert E. Lee High School Chorale, the First Coast Chorus, the JU Men’s Choir, the JU Women’s Choir and finally the JU Singers.

The various range of ages and experiences proved for an exciting night. Senior and vocal performance major Anesha Hines stood front row among the JU Women’s Choir and the JU Singers. Some may have viewed the mix in levels as a challenge, but she enjoyed the process.

“I love working with choirs on different levels, because no matter what level of singing you’re on, you can still learn something from others,” Hines said.

Throughout the evening, the audience sampled many different musical arrangements. They were treated to several deep-rooted spirituals and a variety of music in other languages as well, such as the Latin “Pie Jesu,” the German “Tanzen und Springen,” and the Italian “Il biano e dolce cigno.”

Each choir put forth a lot of effort in their performances, but JU’s choirs couldn’t help but to steal the show. The men’s choir blew the audience away as soon as they took the stage, dressed to impress, lifting their powerful voices in unison to sing “Brothers, Sing On!”

The women’s choir stepped up next and continued to raise the bar. Their jazzy rendition of “Ain’t No Grave Can Hold My Body Down” shifted the atmosphere in the room and had the entire audience cheering and clapping along.

“My favorite part was when the Jacksonville University Singers sang ‘Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel?’” said freshman and music performance major Delisa Youngblood. “I really liked their adaptation, and it was nice to hear the high school’s rendition of it as well.”

The Terry Concert Hall roared with whistles and applauded as the JU Singers took a bow. It was clear to see the impression that was made on the younger choirs as they looked up at the JU Singers with wide-eyed admiration.

The night went out with a bang as all of the choirs squeezed onto the stage to participate in the final arrangement. Bringing the show to a close, they swayed to the beat of a drum and belted out two South American ceremonial songs. Hundreds of voices raised together in harmony; it was a powerful finale to a night filled with music and wonder.

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