The Music Department at Mary Baldwin University is pleased to announce its Spring Choir Concert, featuring the Mary Baldwin University Choir, as well as Bella Voce and Baldwin Charm, the department’s two a cappella ensembles. The performance is at 7:30 p.m. on April 8 in First Presbyterian Church, Staunton. The concert is free and open to the public.
The concert will feature American composer Randall Thompson’s The Place of the Blest, along with works by Bob Leavitt, and Z. Randall Stroope. College Choir Director Ryan Keebaugh explains that centerpiece of the program is Thompson’s piece, an important work in the American choral repertoire. He points out that Thompson was a local legend as composer and conductor at the University of Virginia.
“I really enjoy working with the students of Mary Baldwin, due to their excitement and willingness to learn new important works,” Keebaugh said.
Freshman choir member Kaitlin Evans says that she enjoys the challenge of learning new pieces and that performing in choir is “a very rewarding experience.” Freshman Hannah Haugan agrees, commenting that the Thompson work is “amazing, challenging, and very fun to sing.” Haugan goes on to say that the audience “will enjoy both the fun and catchy aspects of the concert as well as the deeper, more meaningful ones.”
Keebaugh has been praised for his expressive and sensitive conducting, and he is also an award-winning composer, whose works have been performed by members of the National Symphony Orchestra and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, as well as by choral groups throughout the United States, including the University of South Florida Chamber Singers and the Fresno State Concert Choir.
Bella Voce will present a variety of works by Donato, Bortniansky, Brahms, and Dawson, along with a Sephardic folk song.
“Bella Voce offers a trip around the world with our program, singing in many different languages: Latin, Spanish, Church Slavonic, Zulu, and English. And each student seems to have a different favorite piece,” said Dr. Linell Gray Moss, director of Bella Voce and member of the Mary Baldwin voice faculty.
Baldwin Charm, the college’s pop a cappella group, will perform “Stand By Me” and Lorde’s “Royals,” along with “Hopeless Romantic,” a creative mash-up of Justin Timberlake’s “Blue Ocean Floor” and Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies.”
“All of our selections for this concert were arranged by our two student directors, Tiara Bowling and Kyla Daniel,” said the ensemble’s director, Anne Wick, who also teaches voice at Mary Baldwin.