Concordia Masterworks brings triumphant end to the Music Department season

The Concordia Courier

Concordia Choir

By Rebekah Michel | 4/26/2024

With final performances and concerts going underway, the Concordia Choir and Donne Di Canto chorus, alongside the Master Chorale and the Masterworks Orchestra, gave an expressive grand finale to the year with their Masterworks Concert of Maurice Durufle’s “Requiem” and Ralph Vaughan William’s “Sancta Civitas (The Holy City).” 

Featuring over a hundred musicians, under the conductorship of Dr. Michael Busch and baritone soloist Ben Lowe, Concordia’s Masterworks played to a full audience in the CU Center on April 20 and 21. 

As one of the showcased pieces, Durufle’s “Requiem” was inspired by early gregorian chants. Featuring an organ and Latin text, the lyrics centered on themes of death and grief. Despite the rather heavy text of the work, the atmosphere provided by the Concordia Choir and the Masterworks Orchestra was peaceful and one of prayer. Additionally, the Masterworks Concert featured “Sancta Civitas” which pulls its texts from the book of Revelation. As a large musical work, the voices of three separate choirs and soloist Ben Lowe soared through the CU Center. 

For students in the Concordia Choir and Donne Di Canto, Masterworks is a significant part of their season as it allows them to sing alongside professionals in the field. “Singing with the Master Chorale is a great experience as they round out the tone of our choir with their mature voices. In addition, the professional orchestra brings the works together and really completes them,” said sophomore Annelise Jackson. Jackson is completing her second year in the Concordia Choir and was a part of the concert’s semi-chorus. 

The Masterworks Concert is not complete without its challenges of learning demanding repertoire. “Learning these two pieces has been challenging for me because I had never heard either one of them before. However the work is easier when we have a conductor like Dr. Busch. He uses our time well, and pushes us to excel in our readings of the pieces,” said senior John Trinklein. Trinklein is a Biblical Languages major and is in his first year with the Concordia Choir. 

As a grand concert, Masterworks often demands students to work additional hours in rehearsals and on their own time. “The rehearsal process for Masterworks was intense. It has taken a lot of repetition and more work outside of rehearsals than other pieces have required in the past,” said Jackson. 

The Music Department’s Masterworks Concert is unique in that it always highlights liturgical and biblical texts. The meanings of the “Sancta Civitas” were especially relevant to many of the students involved. “Much of the text in ‘Sancta Civitas’ is drawn from Revelation 19, and I have been doing a semester-long project on this text. Getting to sing it has been incredible,” said Trinklein. “While singing, I get to reflect on what the text means for me and for all people.”

As the Music Department continues to provide excellence in their public performances, their annual Masterworks Concert of “Requiem” and “Sancta Civitas (The Holy City)” was a massive undertaking for all of the musicians involved. Yet, the result was well worth it as the Masterworks Concerts continue to enthrall audiences with its sacred texts. 

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