WSU choirs to present Fall Choirfest

(Source: Mark Henderson) Weber State Chamber Choir
(Source: Mark Henderson) Weber State University’s chamber choir poses during a previous semester.

Weber State University’s concert and chamber choirs will perform a variety of choral arrangements in their Fall Choirfest concert on Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. Presented in the Austad Auditorium of the Browning Center, the Choirfest will include choral arrangements from professional composers and original arrangements from students themselves.

Fall Choirfest, the first of the WSU choral performances this season, will feature student pieces such as Casey Wood’s jazz arrangement of “Isn’t She Lovely,” and a collaboration from Wood and Derek Myler, “Go Down Moses.”

Wood, a choral education major, said he is grateful for the chance to have his works performed by the choir.

“I’ve been really appreciative, especially with Dr. Henderson, that he’s let me have so many opportunities. He just says, ‘Hey, why don’t you write a piece for the choir?’ And that’s a good opportunity, to be able to do that . . . I know the choir well, so now I know what is a good idea of what can be accomplished.”

He said that having been so involved with the choir program has helped him tailor his arrangements to the needs of the choir.

“You actually have to change quite a bit when you’re arranging for the choir, because you know what you can and cannot do.”

Fall Choirfest will feature performances from the choirs under the direction of Mark Henderson, who was unavailable for comment.

Heidi Robinson, chamber choir president, said she is excited about the opportunity for more students to be involved.

“Taking choir has been fantastic. We do a lot of different things and get to experience different types of music and, you know, widen our knowledge of music altogether. My experience has been great also because we get to sing some arrangements by some of the students in the class.”

Robinson said she thinks all WSU students would benefit from attending more events from the department of performing arts.

“I think a lot of the people here on campus don’t even know that we have a music program,” she said, “and when they experience going to performing arts performances, I think that they’re surprised. I think everyone should be able to experience that, and understand that Weber State has a wonderful department of performing arts.”

Thomas Priest, chair of the department of performing arts, said he believes the choir program is an asset to the department.

“(It is) an excellent venue for students to develop their creative and critical thinking skills,” he said. “There also many opportunities for students to develop leadership skills, and, of course, they create beautiful music. It’s a great thing for a group of people to come together as a team and make beautiful things. We need more of this in our world. The choir often gets asked to perform on campus and in the community. I feel they are excellent ambassadors for the university, and they soon will perform at President Wight’s inauguration.”

Robinson said she believes the performance will be an enriching experience for any student who chooses to attend, and encourages all to do so.

“We are singing a wide variety of pieces that reach out to all audiences . . . a lot of them will make you feel (what) that music portrays, and we have some original arrangements by some of the students in the choir, and it’s nice to see how talented we are.”