The spring concert for Salt Lake Community College’s Orchestra, which is combined with the Taylorsville Symphony Orchestra, added several new elements to its spring concert, including SLCC’s Chamber Choir. The combined choir and orchestra performed music contrasting light and dark at the Salt Lake Presbyterian Church. The church added more drama, and better acoustics, to the concert’s tone and light versus dark theme.
The choir started the concert solo, lead by director Lyle Archibald, with several traditional choir pieces, including one by renowned choral composer Eric Whitacre.
After the choir left the stage, or pulpit, the orchestra took over with Bizet’s Carmen. SLCC/Taylorsville Symphony Orchestra director Dr. Richard Brunson explained that the characters of Carmen fit well with the light theme of the evening because of their zest for life.
Another selection performed by the orchestra was Ralph Vaughan Williams’ music from the movie The 49th Parallel; this music didn’t sound like traditional movie music, but was more orchestral. Brunson explained that when the movie was made in the 1940s, movie music was not the industry it is today; in fact, his first exposure to this piece came from his love for the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams.
After a brief intermission the choir came back to the stage with a modified chamber orchestra, few violins, winds, but with an emphasis on the lower strings like cello and bass. Under the direction of Lyle Archibald the combined choir/orchestra performed Faure’s Requiem.
Unlike the more popular Verdi’s Requiem, Archibald explained that Faure’s Requiem had contrasts of light and dark, as opposed to the hellfire and damnation that is prevalent in Verdi’s Requiem. The orchestra’s emphasis on the lower strings added drama to the piece.
“[Faure’s Requiem] was hard because it was the only song where we (bass players) don’t go dum dum dum,” says SLCC student and orchestra Bassist, Alex Ewoniuk, imitating a traditional bass line. Combining the choir and orchestra also served as a challenge when trying to find rehearsal times that everyone could attend. Brunson explains that this concert was in the works for months.
Brunson also would like to encourage students to join the orchestra, explaining that very few students are in the orchestra because they want to do this professionally. Brunson says they do it because they love playing and want to keep doing it beyond high school. The orchestra is currently working on being the pit for a summer production of The King and I.