Southern choruses perform with Chattanooga Symphony and Opera

“Singing with a choir can serve to remind them that they are not alone, and that they don’t need to do life alone.” (Photo courtesy of source)
“Singing with a choir can serve to remind them that they are not alone, and that they don’t need to do life alone.” (Photo courtesy of source)

Bel Canto, Southern Adventist University’s women’s chorus, and Die Meistersinger, Southern’s men’s chorus,  performed Mozart’s “Requiem Mass in D Minor, K. 626” with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera last month. 

The concert took place on March 30 at Walker Memorial Auditorium. 

Gennevieve Brown-Kibble, professor in the School of Music and director of Southern’s choirs, said it was the first time since 2017 — when the chorus performed Poulenc’s “Gloria” — that Bel Canto and Die Meistersinger have participated in such an event. She said the gap in performances with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera has been due to scheduling conflicts.  

Bel Canto and Die Meistersinger performed with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra Chorus, directed by Darrin Hassevort, Chattanooga Symphony and Orchestra, directed by Kayoko Dan, and four soloists. Combined, the group included 130 members. 

In an email to the Accent, Kibble wrote that the choirs took a class period after the performance to reflect on the experience.

“There was a wide range of responses from the students,” Kibble wrote, “including how this challenging work helped them improve their rhythmic skills, extended their vocal range, breath control and endurance, taught them perseverance, a new appreciation for the Latin language, the power of singing the gospel and an increased awareness that anything is possible when we trust one another and work towards a common goal.”

As the director, Kibble hopes her students learned lessons in hope and joy as well as expanded their musical knowledge and capabilities.

“[I] hope they reflect on how far they’ve come from the time they first opened the score and saw a bunch of black dots on white pages to the kind of supernatural joy that comes from rehearsing and performing music with and for others,” Kibble wrote. “Singing with a choir can serve to remind them that they are not alone and that they don’t need to do life alone.”

According to the playbill, Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D Minor suggests a still-evolving Mozart. It stated that the music is a glimpse into his facile genius and could have been a clarifying look into his “growing edge,” but it was muddied by the many hands that helped complete the piece of music. 

“One reason this piece is meaningful is that the richness of its texts has transcended centuries and cultures,” Kibble wrote concerning the importance of the music. “We also hear Mozart’s mature classical style that reaches back to the Baroque past for inspiration even as it leans towards the Romantic era to come. This unfinished work entrusted to his student in his last hours reminds us that art is never ‘finished’ and that we run our best lap before passing the baton to the waiting runner.”

Victoria Mills, senior mass communication major, sings soprano in Bel Canto. In a text message to the Accent, Mills said she was glad to be a part of the experience. 

“It was amazing to learn from other groups and musical leaders we were performing with. I feel like a better musician because of the whole experience,” Mills wrote. 

Alumnus Dylan Vogel, who sings bass in Die Meistersinger, noted that singing the Requiem was “a reminder of the sustaining power and legacy of music. The Lacrymosa (one of the movements in the Requiem) is a reflection of the soul in its rawest form. You can’t sing it without falling to your knees.” 

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