Students Shine at Conductors Concert

by Victoria Sullivan

Anyone who knows anything about Transylvania’s curriculum knows that of all of the majors someone can aspire to complete, music is one of the toughest. Between lessons, ensembles and rigorous classes, our poor minstrels are often swamped. It is the culmination of that work that ultimately makes it all worthwhile, and the Transylvania Conductors Concert gave us just a taste of the kind of work that our resident musicians have been doing.

The Transylvania Conductors Concert gave some of our fellow students a chance to take the reins and direct their music, rather than perform it. It also showcased our two a cappella groups, Grace Notes and Formerly Known As, and that is always a pleasure.

The concert was divided into two sections, the first of which consisted of the conductors themselves. Senior Jordan White and juniors Gray Gideon and Jessie McIntyre each directed a work of their choice, which was performed by the Transylvania Choir.

White was first, directing “And the Song Am I” by Abbie Betinis. The piece was a light and melodic song, praising the importance of music and the connection that we all share with it. As per usual, the choir performed admirably, but the piece itself was not as memorable as I had hoped.

Gideon’s choice soon took it up a notch. He selected “Lux Aurumque” by Eric Whitacre, originally performed by his virtual choir and made famous on YouTube — as is so often the case. This rendition held its own against the original, enormous choir that Whitacre assembled, and I found myself with chills running down my spine as I listened. The haunting melodies and seemingly endless sound filled the theater and my ears with beauty.

Finally, McIntyre took the stage, directing the choir in a piece titled “Five Hebrew Love Songs,” specifically two movements: “Temuna” and “Kala Kalla.” With the addition of first-year Hannah Johnson on violin, this piece was truly special. Combining call and response with lilting melodies and harmonies, these two movements collided to create an authentic experience, one that was both entertaining and meaningful.

Once the conductors had finished, it was Grace Notes’ turn to take the stage, performing “Lollipop,” a classic 1950s tune, and “Hallelujah,” written by Leonard Cohen.
Our newest a cappella group did not disappoint, and though its harmonies and presentation were not quite as clean as FKA’s, its stage presence made up for it in spades. Grace Notes’ performance was a testament to the amount of progress that this group has made in such a short time and was quite impressive.

Finally, Formerly Known As took the stage with two of its classic performances, “For the Longest Time” and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” which they delivered in the group’s typical playful style. As we all know, FKA is always a pleasure to behold, and they were certainly a worthy cap to an evening of fantastic music.


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