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by Shu-Chin Yu, student writer

The fifth annual winter concert featured holiday songs from different countries, including Kenya, Finland, China, Korea, Brazil, England and Hawai‘i, all performed in their native languages.

The performers were coached by native speakers of all the different languages who helped them polish their pronunciations and explained the history each song.

“ It’s our mission and hope to perform the songs as authentically as we could,” said Susan Duprey, director of choral activities.

Besides the diversity of songs, the vocal groups also presented different styles of music. Calling it “A Musicological Journey Through the Twelve Days of Christmas,” the group performed each section of the concert in the 12 different styles of the carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The 12 styles ranged from sixth- century Rome to 15th-century France and included 16th- and 17th-century Italy, 18th-century Germany, 18th-century Austria and 19th-century France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Russia, and the United States.

“ It’s like a music history lesson in seven minutes,” Duprey said.

The language barrier was not the most difficult thing for Jonathan Felarca, a member of International Vocal Ensemble. “We had experts to help with languages,” Felarca said, adding that they could also listen to and practice from CDs. “The most difficult thing for me was to stay true to the different periods.”

The concert ended with the Vocal Ensemble, International Chorale, and Chamber Orchestra combining in an inspiring performance of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” from The Messiah.

The International Chorale and Vocal Ensemble program began in January 2002 under Dupery’s direction. HPU’s program is the state’s first to specialize in ethnic choral literature.

Like the International Chorale and vocal Ensemble, the newly formed HPU Chamber Orchestra, under Dr. Teresa McCreary’s direction, is open to community members as well as HPU students. Musicians who play oboe, bassoon, clarinet, French horn, trumpet, and timpani are welcome to join.

“ As instrumentation builds,” McCreary said, “and the larger brass instruments are incorporated, I hope to perform symphonic masterworks from the Romantic era by composers such as Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, and Beethoven.”

McCreary’s plans for the orchestra include expanding its performance schedule and eventually doing a concert tour, possibly with the International Chorale and Vocal Ensemble.





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