By Kelsey Taylor
This past weekend was the annual performance of the Masterworks Concert, which sees the union of the Alma Choirs and the Alma Symphony Orchestra to showcase a musical masterpiece.
This year, the chosen piece was Franz Joseph Hadyn’s The Creation, composed in the late eighteenth century. The concert is performed in three parts meant to be sung by five soloists, but was modified to allow for 23 students – five of whom were seniors - and voice professor Vicki Walker to feature as many singers as possible.
Students enjoy the Masterworks Concert as a chance to sing and play classical music.
“I enjoy Masterworks; it’s always a really great change of pace to sing one of the major works with the force of all the choirs and the orchestra. It is a unique form of prayer that we cannot get elsewhere,” said soprano soloist Cecelia Brady (‘18),
“The fact that [this was] my last one has not quite sunk in yet.”
However, for the 28 seniors in the concert, this moment was bittersweet.
“I am bringing to realize that Sunday night [was] the last concert I [sang] at Alma College. Although I’m confident I will sing in another choir, performing tonight is something I will cherish forever,” said Seth Davis (‘18).
As the seniors move forward from Alma, many look back on their time in the music programs positively.
“I think the greatest contribution the orchestra has made to my growth are when we have the few rehearsals before the concerts. Those are the rehearsals when the hired professionals come in and it really motivates me to play better. I hear what they’re doing and I think it pushes me in a positive direction,” said viola player Ishijah Johnson (‘18).
“My experience in the Alma Choirs has allowed me to become a better leader, and a better musician. A college choir has maturity both in personality and in its voices. Listening to others in the choir makes me push myself to sing the best I can,” said Krista Botting (‘18).
The seniors are not the only ones who feel nostalgic this time of year.
“One of the really nice things about my life as the conductor of the Alma Choirs is that I get to work with my students for three and four years. During this time we get to know each other very well and, of course, I rely on the seniors to become student leaders within the choirs. They do this by setting a positive example for younger students,” said Will Nichols, professor of music and conductor of the Alma College choirs.
Nichols also encourages his students to continually pursue music even after graduation.
“Keep singing! Wherever life takes you there will be a choir that needs you. Find it, and join in! And come back to Homecoming as often as you can and sing with me again!”
Taking Nichols’ advice to heart, the seniors plan to join new choirs and ensembles, wherever the future leads them.
“While I may not perform professionally, I will definitely keep my knowledge and passion for music as a hobby, working within the community wherever I end up settling down,” said Botting.
At Alma, it is easy to become involved with one or more of our many musical programs.
Alma Choirs and the Alma Symphony Orchestra are just two of the creative options.
Johnson believes that the ensembles are a great experience to have. Nichols has a similar opinion, saying:
“Singing brings art into our daily lives — and every one of us has a deep desire to be creative…I wish everyone would be brave enough to join a choir and discover for themselves the joy of singing.”