On Friday, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m., Rieth Recital Hall was filled with the sounds of music as Goshen College welcomed Glenn Miller, organist and basso-profundo singer, in a collaborative performance with the GC Chamber Choir. The show featured Glenn Miller on organ for the first half and in choral selections for the second half. The audience was invited to join in for hymns throughout.
Glenn Miller returned to Goshen College following a collaboration in 2016 with the St. Joseph Valley Camerata. Specializing in Russian liturgical choral pieces, he maintains a successful musical career. Miller serves as director of music and organist at Kirk in the Hills in Michigan. In addition to organ pieces and traditional hymns, Miller and the Chamber Choir, under the direction of Scott Hochstetler, performed a Pavel Chesnokov composition entitled “Do Not Cast Me Out in My Old Age” on Friday evening.
Chamber Choir began rehearsing for this performance at the end of last semester. Irina Gladun, junior, used her background with the Ukrainian language to help coach the singers in the pronunciation of Church Slavonic,the language of the Orthodox church. The choral group sang four selections during Friday’s concert.
The first half of the concert featured Miller on the Rieth organ. He played multiple works, including a Christmas piece featuring the sounds of a fife and drums. Following intermission, Chamber Choir sang their pieces and the audience joined in for several hymns, including “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow.”
The highlight of the concert was the collaboration between Chamber Choir and Glenn Miller in the difficult Chesnokov piece. The composition, known as a “sacred concerto,” featured Miller in a basso profundo solo. Miller has previously performed this piece as soloist on Conspirare’s 2015 Grammy award-winning recording.
At the end of the piece, Miller descended to a low G below low C, a feat that’s nearly unheard of in choral music.
“Glenn’s voice was absolutely incredible,” said Talia Miller, a first-year who attended the performance. “I’ve never heard anything like it.”
Director Scott Hochstetler said of the performance, “It was a truly spiritual experience. The choir sang beautifully. Glenn played and sang with such sensitivity, and the audience joined in the congregational singing with such commitment.”
Hochstetler stated that while leading the audience in the hymns, he often had to stop singing because it was such an emotional experience. Following Friday’s success, Hochstetler extends gratitude toward Glenn for sharing his gifts with the Goshen community.
Chamber Choir will not return to the stage next until Feb. 10 for the Winter Choral Concert in Sauder Concert Hall, which will also feature Men’s Choir and Women’s World Choir. In the meantime, Men’s Choir will perform this Friday, Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. for the 2nd annual Men’s Choir Festival.