S. MICHAEL HUTCHESON
The lower Gentile Gallery filled with the buzz of excited conversation on the afternoon of Sunday, Dec. 2, as students and guests from all over campus came to watch the Franciscan University Chorale perform at the Sounds of the Season concert.
At 4 p.m., the choir took the stage amid much laudation, and music professor George Melhorn, director of the chorale, sat down at the piano and began the concert.
The concert began with an arrangement of the Magnificat composed in three movements by Rob Landes. The second movement of the piece was a colder and more solemn adagio, in contrast to the warm opening and the bright conclusion of the piece. The soft, yet piercing sound of senior David Forrester’s trombone mingled with the sacred words sung by the chorale, and together with the ringing of the piano, the music washed over the contemplative audience.
After three smaller arrangements were sung, soloist Albert Macre stepped forward in front of the rest of the chorus to sing “Fantasia on Christmas Carols,” a composition by Ralph Vaughan-Williams. The chorus began slowly, with a prelude that was not at all unlike a Christmas proclamation. Macre sang the prelude solemnly, accompanied only by occasional chords from Melhorn’s piano and the slow, serene humming of the choir.
Junior Frances Buchanan, a soprano singer in the chorale, also had a solo performance. Accompanied only by the piano, she sang an arrangement of “O Holy Night” by Adams, softly and sweetly.
Melhorn invited the audience to participate for part of the finale of the concert; they, with the chorale, sang “O Come All Ye Faithful,” arranged by Wade, and the first verse of Mendelssohn’s “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”
Accompanied by sophomore pianist Ethan O’Nan, the chorale finished the concert with a lovely rendition of “May God Bless You and Keep You” before walking off the stage to a roar of applause from a grateful congregation.
Seniors Cameron Lanatrice and Michael Schisla, who were recording the performance, were both pleased by what they heard. “I had never seen them before, I had never heard them before, but I was very impressed. I thought it was awesome,” said Lanatrice.
They both also thought highly of Buchanan’s solo performance. “I liked ‘O Holy Night’ a lot, I thought ‘O Holy Night’ was very, very well done,” said Lanatrice.
Schisla concurred: “That is a very, very difficult song to sing, and Frances absolutely nailed it.”