AU’s chorus performs ‘On a Canvas of Silence’ for a lively and supportive crowd
The ensemble’s third track, ‘A Silence Haunts Me,’ steals the show with its touching lyrics
AU Chorus performed “On a Canvas of Silence” Saturday, April 22 at the Katzen Arts Center for an enthusiastic crowd of family, friends and fellow AU students.
The hour-long concert featured songs from composers such as Jake Runestad, Benjamin Britten and Eric Whitacre.
“My favorite part of the set was the variety of music and composers, especially compared to last semester, which was all Brahms,” Carys O’Connell, a freshman in the School of Public Affairs, said.
AU Chorus practices weekly on Tuesday evenings for two hours each week this semester, so the group has limited time to pick up music. However, Director Casey Cook put in the extra work to make up for the group’s little time together.
“Our wonderful director, Casey, made us these practice tracks so that we could listen along to our parts and make sure we were getting the more difficult parts right,” Nidhi Kallur, a freshman in the School of Public Affairs and College of Arts and Sciences, said.
Five students, all in different vocal groups, were chosen to solo in “Hymn to St. Cecilia” — the second song performed in the set.
Kallur, Mia Atkinson, Karyn Castro, Ian Carlos Urriola and William Stevenson all held their own as soloists in their performance.
“It was my first time since pre-COVID singing a solo with a choir onstage,” Atkinson, a sophomore in the School of International Service, said. “I had a long solo in ‘St. Cecilia’ and it was very fun to sing.”
Out of the six songs performed, “A Silence Haunts Me” by Jake Runestad seemed to leave the biggest impression on the crowd. The track symbolizes Ludwig van Beethoven’s gradual loss of hearing, and how he struggled with that experience as a music composer.
“I think ‘A Silence Haunts Me’ by Runestad is a piece I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Kallur said.
“Not only does it have a beautiful story, the composition is breathtaking. It has all these Easter eggs of Beethoven’s pieces buried in the piano part, and the end of the piece always makes me tear up, especially because of the transition into the joyous Hallelujah by Beethoven,” Kallur said. “It’s a magical moment, particularly for me as someone who adores music, singing and Beethoven.”
The song ends with the choir simply mouthing the lyrics, “A bell, a bell, hear me and be well,” feigning Beethoven’s final grasp of sound in a silent cry of frustration and acceptance.
“This performance was special because of the ensemble we have,” Ryan Altman, a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs, said.
“I’ve made so many friends from AU Chorus and getting to perform with them will always be fun. Also, as I said, I think “A Silence Haunts Me” is just a unique piece of music that I’ll never get to do again.”
This article was edited by Sara Winick, Kylie Bill and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis and Luna Jinks.