Von der Mehden turned cathedral for latest UConn Choirs concert

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UConn Choir concert hosts their concert at Von Der Mehden on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. The five university choirs: UConntabile, Collegium Musicum, UConn Glee Club, Chamber Singers and Concert Choir all performed pieces. Photos by Eric Yang / The Daily Campus.

On Sunday in von der Mehden Recital Hall, the UConn Choirs presented a beautiful array of choral pieces, which reflected not only traditional religious music, but also more contemporary and upbeat renditions of spiritual tunes. The five university choirs: UConntabile, Collegium Musicum, UConn Glee Club, Chamber Singers and Concert Choir all performed pieces which brought the audience on an emotional journey and concluded in over 100 singers performing an operatic piece by Giuseppi Verdi, ending the concert with a bang.  

As a whole, this concert was solemn. The solemnity of religious music was celebrated through multiple renditions of the “Ave Maria,” during which singers proceeded down the aisles of von der Mehden. The room was silent and pensive. This concert presented a variety of different religious pieces, and while some were somber, others had an upbeat quality to them and some were even grand like the cathedrals which they would have been sung in all those years ago. The UConn Glee Club performed something of a magical arrangement. Accompanied by horns and drums, the sound filled the recital hall and changed the atmosphere of the whole space. 

The concert concluded with an operatic piece. The massive choir ended on a bang, and managed to pull off an incredible arrangement, leaving nothing but applause in their tracks. Concert choir director, Dr. Jamie Spillane, said the piece was known for its “big sound,” and it did not disappoint.  

While most of the concert was in Latin, each program also included English translations of each of the songs, so the audience could relish in not only the beauty of the sound, but also the beauty of the lyrics. The concert was arranged to impart a message on the those who listened, as a theme of motherly love from Mary, the mystery of faith and the glory of God were seen throughout all the pieces. Hearing the Alleluia’s ring from the choirs solidified and unified the messages of the concert as a whole.  

That seems to be the feeling the choirs were after: All the selections created a full sound, and could easily fill the empty walls of a cathedral. The intimate setting of von der Mehden made this less than a concert and more of an experience. You could be touched by the music and feel the sound pass through you.  

“The music really spoke to the history and life of church music,” Ben Smith, a first semester biomedical engineering major, said. 


Michael Grigoriou is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at michael.grigoriou@uconn.edu

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