The St. Paul's Friends of Music Guild Concert Series presents the Kenyon College Chamber Singers, conducted by Dr. Benjamin Locke, on Saturday, March 5, 2011, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1066 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, at 7:00 p.m. A free-will offering will be taken at the door.
The Chamber Singers, consisting of fifty-four undergraduates chosen by competitive audition, is Kenyon's premier touring ensemble. The group is noted for its versatility of vocal style and broad repertoire. The New York Concert Review applauded the artistry of the ensemble, stating “the young members of the Chamber Singers…retain the proper lightness to navigate the translucent textures of Sweelinck’s Cantate Domino and Palestrina’s Sicut Cervus…focused intently on the conductor, the singers kept their audience hanging on every word.”
The Chamber Singers will again present an eclectic mix of a cappella choral repertoire on their 2011 Spring Tour. A centerpiece to the program will be Johannes Brahms's motet "Warum ist das Licht gegeben dem Mühseligen,” with numerous other sacred compositions by Jan Sweelinck, Randall Thompson, L. Dean Nuernberger and Roelof Temmingh. The ensemble is noted for its regular inclusion of music from South Africa, which this year includes “Bawo, Thixo Somandla” (Lord, God Omnipotent), arranged by Mzilikazi Khumalo, and “UMaconsana” (Moonshine) by Reuben Tholakele Caluza. Other pieces on the program include Jonathan Rathbone’s “Danny Boy," Adolphus Hailstork’s "Motherless Child," Robert Fountain’s “Roll, Jordan, Roll,” and many other selections of sacred and secular choral repertoire.
The members of Chamber Singers come from twenty-one states. Only ten of the singers have declared music as their academic major, with the rest having chosen fields such as mathematics, religion, studio art, biology, drama, psychology, philosophy, and English, to name but a few. All the singers value music as an integral part of a liberal-arts education and take great pride in reaching for the highest musical standards in performance.
Benjamin Locke holds the Robert A. Oden Jr. Professorship at Kenyon. He directs the Kenyon Community Choir, teaches music theory, conducting and voice, and is also the musical director of the Knox County Symphony (based in Mount Vernon, Ohio). He has written several research articles on the choral music of Johannes Brahms and has also published many transcriptions and arrangements of South African folksongs. Dr. Locke earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he studied extensively with Robert Fountain.
The Music Department consists of six distinguished faculty in the areas of musicology, music theory and performance, and ethnomusicology. The Department resides in the new Storer Music Building with state-of-the-art classrooms and performance spaces, in addition to the recently renovated Rosse Hall. Applied study is offered in piano, woodwinds, brass, strings, and voice as well as organ, harp, harpsichord and some early instruments. Both music majors and non-majors participate in the numerous instrumental and vocal ensembles on campus.
Kenyon College is Ohio's oldest private college and has been building a reputation for excellence for more than one hundred eighty years. It boasts a remarkably dedicated faculty, a carefully planned liberal arts curriculum, a highly capable student body, and alumni who have contributed significantly in all walks of life.