The Music Department at Mary Baldwin University is pleased to announce its Spring Choir Concert, “Sing All Ye Joyful,” featuring the Mary Baldwin University Choir, along with Bella Voce and Baldwin Charm, the department’s two small a cappella ensembles. The performance is at 7:30 p.m. on April 7 at First Presbyterian Church in Staunton. Admission to the concert is free, and the public is invited.
“The concert title is from J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit,” explains Linell Gray Moss, who directs the college choir and the Bella Voce ensemble. “The choir will sing this selection in a musical setting by American composer Kirk Mechem.”
Moss goes on to say, “We are celebrating this year’s college-wide theme of Roots with a beautiful setting by Gwyneth Walker of May Swenson’s poem, ‘I will be earth.’”
The College Choir will also sing in French, German, and Nguni, and senior music major Leslie Pittman will conduct an arrangement of Gershwin’s “The Man I Love.” The program will close with the lively African-American spiritual “Ain’t no grave can hold my body down.” Several of the works feature the talents of pianist Luis Gonzalez.
Bella Voce’s selections include a Navajo prayer, a Latin chant set by contemporary composer Eleanor Daley, and the beautiful Southern Harmony hymntune, “Wondrous Love.” Baldwin Charm will share several popular music songs, including an arrangement by the group Pentatonix.
The choirs recently toured the Washington, DC area. A highlight of the tour was the opportunity to interact with diverse audiences, including teenagers at the Shenandoah Juvenile Detention Center and folks at Sunnyside Retirement Community, where the choir helped to celebrate the 102nd birthday of a resident in attendance. Audiences included Mary Baldwin alumni from the 1940s through recent years, including a former choir member of former director Gordon Page.
Moss has taught for colleges and universities in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, New York, and Virginia. She holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the University of Iowa, and Macalester College. Kathleen Bell has been featured in many opera roles in the U.S. and in Europe. She has also been a soloist with the Miami Symphony, the Miami Oratorio Society, the Hispanic Lyric Theatre, the Miami Civic Chorale, and the Middle Saxony Orchestra in Germany. Currently, Bell is finishing the doctorate of musical arts in voice pedagogy at Shenandoah University with special interests in vocal health and contemporary commercial music styles.