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Ohio State musical groups unite for a ‘choral music lover’s buffet’

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A number of university choirs are set to perform in a choral "collage" Oct 10 in Weigel Auditorium.

A number of university choirs are set to perform in a choral “collage” Oct 10 in Weigel Auditorium. Credit: Courtesy of Nick Fancher

They may not be unified in their style of performances or locations within the venue, but Ohio State’s choirs are hoping to harmonize each other in a concert Friday night.

Choral Collage is scheduled for Friday at 8 p.m in Weigel Auditorium. Admission is free and the event is open to the public.

Kristina MacMullen, an assistant professor and producer of the show, said the ensembles have drawn inspiration from the 16th century to present-day music. That variety of styles combined together is a popular concert format known as a “sound collage.”

MacMullen said she hopes for an inviting, fast-paced evening. “Collage is a standard format,” she said. “It’s certainly not revolutionary, but it’s very engaging for the audience.”

Casey Cook, a collaborative pianist, also expressed her enthusiasm for the upcoming concert.

“The fact that we’re showcasing every ensemble we have means we have a choir for every kind of group,” she said. “It’s all-inclusive. It’s a mix of graduate, undergraduate and non-majors.”

The Women’s Glee Club, Men’s Glee Club, Symphonic Choir, University Chorus, Women’s Chamber Ensemble and University Chorale are all set to perform at the event, MacMullen said.

Choral Collage is part of a two-day event, said Tamara Morris, spokeswoman for the School of Music. This is the first time Choral Collage is to be coupled with the Vocal Arts Showcase. On Saturday, selected high school students will make their way to OSU to observe a mock voice lesson from two current undergraduate students as well as be a part of an honor choir with guest clinician Ryan Beeken.

Friday’s concert is slated to consist of works from Mozart, traditional Appalachian folk songs, songs in different languages, and both accompanied and a cappella pieces, Cook said.

“It’s a choral music lover’s buffet,” she said.

Assistant director of the University Chorale Elena Maietta, said the concert will be an open format free of interruptions — with applause held until the end — and the consecutive performances are a major part of the experience

“You get to hear how one piece relates to the next,” she said. “It’s meant to be a program with flow from one piece to the other. It’s very dense, but exciting.”

Made up of roughly 300 individuals as a collective whole, MacMullen said, the ensembles will make their way around Weigel Auditorium. They’ll be found on the stage, in the aisles and orchestra pit, and other unexpected locations, Maietta said.

“You never know which direction sound will come from,” she said.

Alissa Bodner, a fourth-year in piano and choral music education, is slated to perform Friday night.

“I’m excited for the collaboration opportunities with other performers and conductors,” she said. “I’ll be performing in a different way by singing and playing the piano.”

Despite the many hours of work that have gone into preparation for the concert, MacMullen explained the biggest challenge they’ve encountered so far is coordinating all 300 people.

Before the concert, they have one shot at putting everything together before show time, she said.

“It’s a stressful hour. The ensembles are bouncing around and have to be thoroughly independent,” she said.

Maietta said she has faith the hard work will pay off in the end.

“Overall, I think it’ll be a really iconic experience,” Maietta said.

Choral Collage is part of a two-day event, said Tamara Morris, spokeswoman for the School of Music. This is the first time Choral Collage is to be coupled with the Vocal Arts Showcase.

On Saturday, selected high school students will make their way to OSU to observe a mock voice lesson from two current undergraduate students as well as be a part of an honor choir with guest clinician Ryan Beeken.

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