Choirs prepare for spring festival

The Weber State University choir will be ending its 2011-12 choir year on April 11 with the Spring Choirfest.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to see what the choral program at Weber State is all about,” said Alex Gerrish, president of the WSU Concert Choir. “The choir has been together for a full year, so by all rights, this should be one of the best concerts of the year, and we hope to deliver that according to that promise on Wednesday.”

Mark Henderson, director of the choral program at WSU, said he believes a unique thing about these concerts is the choir’s ability to perform different arrangements of styles. This includes everything from classical to vocal jazz, and even several Broadway arrangements. Many of the pieces are also featured in different languages, some which will be performed on Wednesday.

“We see ourselves as a living museum for music,” Henderson said, “the same way you go to the museum and see great works of visual art and sculptures from the last several hundred years. We do the same thing, except they only really exist in performance. So when you come to a concert, we like to range it as widely as we can.”

The concert will also feature a new work for choir, string quartet and flute that is composed and conducted by Mina Romney, a choral education major and student member of the WSU Chamber Choir and Concert Choir.

“The text is about kind of these rustic things, so the music is very folksy,” Romney said. “I chose string quartet because one, it has kind of a woodsy sound, and also it’s (a) more intimate sound. I just felt that it would suit the text very well.”

The piece was originally written as a project for Henderson’s 2010 class on choral arranging.

Romney said the tone is very light and spring-like. The lyrics she chose for the composition talk about the Greek god Pan, master of the wild in Greek mythology, and even though Romney said it talks about his supposed death, or at least his departure from the consciousness of human kind, she said she believes it’s more lighthearted and nostalgic than melancholic.

“It’s very spring-like, (and) it’s talking about nature, and I just kind of associate the Greek god Pan with spring and with new life,” Romney said. “While it’s kind of a sad thing, nature being taken over by mankind’s progress and taking these wild places and building up towns and things, it’s more lighthearted than that, so I kind of tried to balance it with the music.”

Though not sure whether she’ll have the song published, Romney said she is excited to have her work performed by the concert choir and hopes to keep composing and having opportunities for those compositions to be composed in the future.

“The whole theme of the year has been growing and creating together,” said Shaylynne Clark, president of the chamber choir, “and I think that springtime is a season that seems to bring everyone together.”

The concert will be at the Browning Center in the Austad Auditorium, and the tickets are $6/$5. Anyone seeking more information about the performance can call 801-626-6431 or visit