By Morgan Jackson, Assistant Arts Editor
Sunday Oct. 7, the University Chorale gave their first performances of the semester at two churches in Oklahoma City. In the morning, they performed at St. John Missionary Baptist Church, and in the evening, they performed at Quail Springs Baptist Church.
At their evening performance, the University Chorale offered an exceptional performance of many different songs from their repertoire.
Freshman Landon Johnson’s piano playing at the start of the church’s service was an exceptional first glimpse of the talent that was to come from this group.
The first song that the University Chorale performed was “Sing Unto God” by Paul Fetler.
It was immediately evident that director Dr. Brent Ballweg had the complete attention of every member of his group.
The chorale’s blending together was skillful and impressive, especially considering that this was the University Chorale’s first day of performing publicly together for the year.
The second song that the group performed was “The Word Was God” by Rosepha-nye Powell. Next came “Old Time Religion” by Hogan/Harlan.
It was clear that the audience deeply enjoyed this song.
Freshman Meghan Haynes sang the solo in this song with clarity.
The movement of the group, swaying from side to side, made the song even more joyous and solidified the sheer presence of the group.
The University Chorale took a brief break from the stage while senior vocal performance major Julie Welch delivered a stunning, emotive rendition of “Love Lifted Me.”
She was accompanied by senior piano performance major Bradley Hetherington. The two performed together beautifully. Hetherington’s skillful, expressive piano playing allowed for an even more emotional, moving performances from the duo.
The Chorale returned to the stage to perform “And Can It Be?” by Dan Forrest. Juniors Kalyne Henrichsen and Bryson Cunningham sang solos in this piece.
The song was easily one of the most emotional numbers of the night. It was easy to see that this number meant something to so many members of the Chorale.
Their faces were expressive, and they conveyed the power and intensity of the love that Christ has for His people.
Next, True Voice, OBU’s acapella group, performed the song “Alive.” This song also seemed to be a crowd favorite. The group’s energy was contagious, and sophomore Raelyn Williamson did an excellent job singing the solo.
Her performance was full of joy, and she sang with very nice breath control and diction.
The University Chorale returned to the stage to sing the OBU Alma Mater and challenged the alumni in the audience to go with Ka-Rip. Next, they performed “Give Me Jesus,” arranged by Larry L. Fleming. This song allowed each section of the Chorale to shine in different moments. Each section had very good blend within itself and with the whole group.
The final two songs of the night were “Rejoice!” by Jeffrey L. Ames and “E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come” by Paul Manz.
Freshman Rebecca Walters and senior Chase Hendrickson soloed. During the concluding song of the performance, members of the Chorale joined hands and sang.
“To me, the way that we perform “E’en So, Lord Je-sus, Quickly Come” really signifies the fellowship between everyone in chorale and the close relationship we all share with God,” freshman computer science major Nic Stark said.
It was clear that the audience had enjoyed and appreciated the group’s performance.
This performance was a beautiful beginning to the group’s public performances. It is easy to see that University Chorale is a group filled with talent, heart and care for each other and their art.
“My experience with chorale so far has been a mix of emotions,” Stark said. “At first, I wasn’t sure exactly what I had gotten myself into and I felt inadequate, especially since I am not a music major, and I’ve never had formal voice lessons. It wasn’t long though, before Dr. B and the people of chorale essentially took me into the fold and made me feel more welcome than ever.”
Unity is vital to any team. University Chorale’s unity was exuding from the stage.
“The best thing about Chorale is the community with my peers,” senior theatre major McKenzie Reece said. “You make lasting relationships with different majors and people in different classes. I love that music is a universal language and everyone can come together and make music.”
The University Chorale performed music that honored God in lyric and in music.
“We had fun sharing our talents and worshiping together,” Reece said. “I think this is one of the strongest and most talented Chorale groups I have been a part of and I am excited to perform more this year.”
Even though they were presenting songs to their audience, the chorale made it clear that everyone in the room was worshiping with them.
“I enjoyed worshiping and I believe many others did too,” said sophomore Joel Tetmeyer.
These first two performances are just the beginning of a great season for the University Chorale. Check the OBU calendar for up-coming performance dates.