Ageless Love Songs Highlight Choral Concert
By Doug Carroll
Give GCU’s choirs a place to stand and a piano, and they can take you anywhere in song.
Three weeks ago, they turned Ethington Theatre into a church, with a rousing program of gospel music. On Tuesday night, they turned a church into a Broadway theatre.
The Music Department’s “Love Through the Ages” concert at First Southern Baptist Church supplied faithful renditions of more than a dozen love songs — most of them show tunes, and many of them popular before the choir members’ parents were born.
There was no printed program, and that probably didn’t matter to many in the appreciative audience. They knew by heart what they were hearing, right from the Canyon Chorale’s opening medley from the musical “My Fair Lady,” with its samplings of “I Could Have Danced All Night, “Get Me to the Church on Time,” “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?,” “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face” and “On the Street Where You Live.”
Assistant Dean Juan Hernandez of the College of Fine Arts and Production, who directed the 46-member Chorale and 16-member Canyon Singers, summed it up after the medley had concluded.
“If you haven’t heard about love by now, you will hear a lot about it tonight,” he told the audience.
Dressed formally for the occasion, the choirs, various soloists and accompanist Janet Norman were up to the material. Highlights were abundant, and they included:
- In a duet, Chris Van Nattan and Lauren Bailey provided a delightfully playful rendering of “The Picture Show” from Jason Robert Brown’s “Parade.”
- Elizabeth Pabst showed impressive vocal range and stage presence on “Vanilla Ice Cream” from Jerry Bock’s “She Loves Me.” (Hernandez jokingly described it as an “ice cream aria.”)
- Anthony Cotoia, on a break from a major role in “The Comedy of Errors” this week at Ethington Theatre, sang “Marry Me a Little” from Stephen Sondheim’s “Company.”
- Bailey’s beautiful voice was pitch perfect on “Stars and the Moon” from Jason Robert Brown’s “Songs for a New World.”
- And Jeffrey Sanchez and Amanda Gardner, accompanied by Cody Nelson on acoustic guitar, sang in both Spanish and English on “Cuando Calienta El Sol/Love Me With All Your Heart.” The three reprised their performance in the lobby afterward, receiving the same enthusiastic applause.
The Canyon Singers performed a cappella versions of Manhattan Transfer’s “Java Jive” and “Till There Was You” from “The Music Man” in the middle of the set.
The Chorale concluded the evening with an appropriate “Time to Say Goodbye,” although “Love Through the Ages” felt as if it should go on all night.
Reach Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or firstname.lastname@example.org.