The Goshen College choral ensembles will take the stage Friday, April 14 to present “Earthtones: Songs From Many Cultures.” This performance is the final concert of the 2017-18 school year for GC’s Women’s and Men’s Choirs, as well as for Chamber Choir.
The “Earthtones” concert is an annual staple of the music department, always featuring an array of vocal sounds from nearly every continent and showcasing choral arrangements from many cultures. Aside from English, the three choirs will present works written in a number of languages, including Swahili, Korean, Bulgarian, Spanish, Hindi, and French Creole.
Each choir will perform individual pieces prior to coming together for a joint number. This year’s all-choir song, “Jai Ho,” is a Bollywood piece that will showcase complex melodies, percussion, and physical movement. This song comprised of 115 singers promises to be a show in itself.
The Men’s Choir, directed by Scott Hostetler, will be performing pieces from the Republic of Georgia, Kenya and Japan. “Naduri,” a powerful Georgian anthem, explores a yodeling technique called “krimanchuli.” First-year Ian Martin and junior Jonah Yoder will be singing solos using this technique. The men will also be premiering a folk song arrangement created by senior Julian Harnish, entitled “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye.”
The Women’s World Choir, directed by Debra Detweiler, presents music hailing from a multitude of backgrounds. In the upbeat Bulgarian folk song “Ergen Deda,” senior Abby Banning, juniors Olivia Copsey and Christi Sessa and sophomore Emily Hilton-Nickel have featured solos. “Cha Kutumaini,” a Tanzanian piece brought back to Goshen from SST by senior Laura Hostetler, features four soloists as well.
Also gracing the stage will be the Chamber Choir, also directed by Hostetler. This group will be performing dance music from Puerto Rico and Haiti, in addition to other selections originating in Venezuela and Korea. The group will also honor the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s passing by singing U2’s piece entitled “MLK.”
“Earthtones” provides an opportunity to recognize graduating senior choir members, a tradition that has stood for approximately 10 years.
“We always look forward to recognizing our seniors at the end of the concert when we sing ‘Woyaya.’ ‘Woyaya’ is a Ghanaian piece that means ‘We Are Going,’” said Detweiler. “Each of the seniors gets a shaker egg as a parting thank you gift. We also recognize our hard-working choir assistants, who we appreciate immensely.”
Both the Men’s and Women’s Choirs will continue the tradition of inviting loved ones to join members on stage for a song. For the Women’s Choir, Detweiler refers to this piece as “The Mother of All Choirs,” as it features mothers, sisters, aunts and friends. The Men’s Choir will perform “The Parting Glass,” a farewell song popular in Scotland and Ireland, with their guests.
“Earthtones” promises to be a concert full of warmth and color, showcasing the talents of countless Goshen College singers while also paying homage and celebrating the musical richness of the world’s cultures.
“I’m excited to celebrate with all the choirs with this fabulous and accessible music from many cultures,” said Hostetler.
The performance is April 14 at 7:30 p.m. in Sauder Concert Hall. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for seniors/students and can be purchased online at goshen.edu/tickets or via the Goshen College Box Office at (574) 535-7566. Goshen college faculty, staff and students are free with valid ID.