The program consisted of “Ride on, King Jesus,” “My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord,” “Libera me,” and “Worthy is the Lamb;” as is evidenced from the titles of the songs, it may be seen that the program was one with a religious theme.
“Ride on King Jesus” is an upbeat, traditional gospel song. It is one with high energy, focused on working up those who are listening to the song itself. The high notes are a bit grating on the ears, especially as they do not sound like they should be quite as high as they are sung, but they is often at the discretion of the choir master, and they may not have had a choice to try to go quite so far out of their vocal ranges as that; though a song is written with certain notes in mind, the way the song is sung is dependent upon the interpretation that the choir master chooses to utilize, and while this rendition was better than many others that may be found on YouTube, it was still displeasing to the ears, though the energy behind the song was enjoyable.
“My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord” was much easier to listen to, it is still traditional gospel, but not as high energy as “Ride on King Jesus.” The runs that were done in almost red robin fashion between the male and female aspects of the choir and the smooth blending of the different voices, made it quite pleasant to the ear. The altos, sopranos, tenors, and baritones worked smoothly together, and the high notes that seemed so out of place in the previous song worked out quite nicely in this one, especially towards the end of the song when the altos really got to the high ranges of their vocal abilities.
“Libera me” was originally a Gregorian chant, later used as a part of Gabriel Faure’s Requiem; it has been done many times in many different ways throughout the years, and has been a part of such pop culture hits as “Interview with the Vampire.” Typically done with a soloist backed up by a choir and orchestra, this was little different, except for the exclusion of the orchestra. It could be said that the reason this piece works so well throughout the ages is due to its continued insistence on holding to tradition, keeping with its original roots, instead of being drastically changed, and it is that underlying peacefulness that is associated with listening to Gregorian Chants that still holds through in this rendition of the song. Through keeping with the more traditional version of the song, the chorale has made it something that is quite pleasing to the ear, and the soloist did exceptionally well, far better than was anticipated.
“Worthy is the Lamb” is a slower song, a bit more drawn out than some of the other songs performed, and it was the perfect choice to close out their four song set with. The soloist who came in occasionally with rest of the choir as background, did not detract from the song itself, but rather served as an enhancement, once the listener got used to the random interjections. The high notes were smoothly hit, and there was a seamless blending of melodies. It was a song of quieter contemplation, much quieter than the song that was chosen to start off this program, which, when compared to the last two songs, sounded like discordant noise.
Overall, the chorale did an excellent job of performing the four songs, and the fault of the first song was not theirs, but rather the fault of the composer of the song itself, and it was their misfortune to be stuck singing a song that was so out of place with the rest of their set list. In spite of this, the men and women of the chorale performed beautifully, regardless of whether or not the type of music that was sung is the preferred genre of the listener.