Saturday, May 22, 2010

Campus choir does the Vic

Just returned from a choral recital performed by our campus choir. It was a sold out crowd at the Vic, though with the number of choir-istas in the group, that's hardly surprising.

The performance was to showcase the repertoire they're bringing with them to the Czech Republic this summer. As far as singing as a choir goes, the kids have been well-trained. The first half of the show passed pleasantly enough with songs representing various languages and tonal textures. Personally, I was wondering why we don't hear our own choir more often. They are a competent lot, and they would benefit from more performance exposure in front of an audience.

The reason I say this is because the second half of the performance -- a dramatized rendition of "Beauty and the Beast" -- though musically sound, there was a clear lack of confidence in the presentation as a whole. The production values (especially the costumes of the mechanicals in the Beast's castle) looked like it took some effort to manufacture, but because they were ultimately just worn as labels it was hard to believe that the characters were household items magically brought to life.

Part of the problem was in the soloists being difficult to hear. Playing in the Vic requires miking, or really strong voices, as it's a relatively large space to play in. Sans amplification, their vocals didn't carry far and for us in the circle seats, it was "eh, what?" most of the time.

But they are choir, after all, and that's where the bulk of their training goes to. As long as they sound good together, that's the measure of their effectiveness. That they attempted a production that they have little experience in shows their spirit and a sense of adventure. That's a good thing. All they need is an audience to play to more often so that they understand what works and what doesn't.

Here, we don't have show choir, so I wasn't expecting "Glee", but playing to an audience is one way to build confidence, and that's the missing ingredient in tonight's show. Hope they gain some before they hit the Czechs.

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