University Singers present concert of foreign language music on Thursday

University Singers present concert of foreign language music on Thursday
Photo courtesy of Alabama University Singers

By Christina Ausley | Staff Reporter 

500 years ago this month, Martin Luther boldly slipped into the foggy cobblestone streets of Wittenberg. He walked up to the daunting black double doors of the All Saints’ Church, and defiantly nailed up a copy of his 95 Theses – propelling the Protestant Reformation and changing the course of religious and cultural history. 

Tonight, University Singers will sing in reflection of the anniversary’s significance and attempt to similarly empower others to make change happen.

“We’re doing some music from that time as well as music by composers like Josquin des Prez, who was Martin Luther’s favorite composer,” said Director of Choral Opportunities Andrew Minear. “Each of the five groups we’ll have sings each note for a different length of time, creating this haunting atmosphere and soundscape that really makes the notes come to life in a very new and modern way.”

University Singers is one of five choirs at UA, alongside University Chorus, Men’s Chorus, Women’s Chorus and Chamber Choir. University Singers, however, is the only choir requiring an extensive interview and selection process. As a result, these students work tirelessly to create the strongest vocal performances vibrating through campus. 

“The students love to sing and they love to hang out with each other even though many are studying different things,” Minear said. “They’re all friends with each other, and that love for each other and for music really pours out into the room, it’s remarkably uplifting.”

Junior and vocal performance major Abigail Hagood is thankful for the relationships she's established through University Singers and hopes this will be noticeable throughout the performance.

“I always enjoy the opportunity to perform with an elite and diverse group,” Hagood said. “Our majors vary from engineering, anthropology to music. Yet, one of the amazing opportunities about a choral ensemble is the ability to come together no matter the major or background and just sing. As cliché as the phrase may be, music truly is a universal language.”

Though Minear has just recently been appointed as director, he has already influenced many student singers throughout campus both within and beyond the choir.

“Whether it’s learning an advanced work or listening to our director Dr. Minear explain something from a new perspective, I’m always learning,” Hagood said. “I know that not everyone on this campus wakes up with the urge to jam to some Brahms, but most all of these modern-day songs that we listen to have traits that can be traced all the way back to those big name composers. I think that gives audiences something interesting to think about next time they put in their headphones.”

Minear has himself been influenced by his colleagues and students, however, as they’ve instilled a sense of confidence in his effective teachings and lessons.

“I can speak for myself in that I had some big shoes to fill,” Minear said. “But the students have been amazing and I couldn’t be more excited to be at UA, to work with such remarkable students and incredible colleagues in the school of music who have all been working really hard and have been really supportive in my new position.”

Performers will sing some songs in Italian, German and Latin, but foreign language is not the biggest challenge for UA Singers like sophomore nursing major Abigail Duginski. Rather, it's connection with the audience through the emotions.

“We've been working really hard these past few weeks to get these pieces ready not only in terms of notes and technique, but also in terms of expression and style,” Diginski said. “Concerts are more than just a group on a stage; our job as singers is both to sing our parts accurately, and to make the audience feel something when they listen to us.”

In their first performance of the year, University Singers like Diginski and Hagood look forward to showcase all they’ve been working on. 

“The ensemble feeds off of the energy from our conductor, the audience and each other,” Hagood said. “The foreign language isn’t the only important aspect; the dynamics and different rhythms should have a meaning as well. We’ll not only convey the stories with our sound, but with our expressions as well.” 

University Singers will also present a Veteran’s Day Concert this November, featuring all UA choirs, the Crimson Pride Barbershop Chorus, the Tuscaloosa County High School choir and UA’s student-led show choir. For more information on this evening’s concert and future choir performances, visit https://music.ua.edu/events/

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