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ISSUE 121 VOL 20 PUBLISHED 5/9/2008

Manitou, Viking end year in song

By Ida Holdahl
Associate Editor

Friday, May 9, 2008

Last Sunday's snowy afternoon was warmed by the sweet voices of the Manitou Singers and Viking Chorus, St. Olaf's two first-year choirs. It marked a rare opportunity since Christmas Fest to hear the two choirs perform.

Member of the Manitou Singers Ellen Weaver '11 noted that "a lot of parents appreciated the concert" as means of hearing how both choirs had improved since their first concert last fall during Family Weekend.

This spring the Manitou Singers were under the guest conduction of Dr. Mary Kay Geston, associate professor of music at Northwestern College in St. Paul. She led the choir in a variety of compositions, including the Latin "Tantum Ergo" by Gabriel Fauré and the Spanish piece "Duerme Negrito" by Aahualpa Yupanqui.

Weaver said the concert was full of "a lot of really fun music," music that even after months of rehearsal she never tired of.

The Viking Chorus was under the conduction of Dr. Christopher Aspaas '95, who has been conducting the group each year since his return to St. Olaf in 2005.

Will McLean '11 commented on the wide variety of musical selections included in the program, from "crowd pleasing songs like 'Ramkali,' to sacred works that are known by heart at this school like 'Lamb of God' [performed by the Manitou Singers]."

Perhaps one of the best things about the concert, from the audience's perspective, was the interplay and communication between the two choirs. The concert began with six diverse songs from the Viking Choir, perhaps the most notable being "Let Your Voice Be Heard," a Ghanaian children's song, during which the choir improvised on clapping, vocal percussion and unique melodies.

This portion of the concert was followed by selections from the Manitou Singers, most of them more traditional songs. Tradition was reciprocated by the Chorus, followed by the Manitou Singers' final selections, featuring a number of typified love songs such as "She Moved Thro' the Fair" and "To Joy." Weaver noted that "[it] seemed like we were singing back and forth to each other."

The concert ended what McLean said was "a great year singing with Viking Chorus -- we enjoyed singing under the direction of Dr. Aspaas and making great music together."

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