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Aerial View of the Dowagiac Campus

Poems set to music for April 11 choral concert

Robert Frost poems set to music and St. Joseph guests highlight Southwestern Michigan College’s spring choral concert Friday, April 11.

The concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. in the theatre of the Dale A. Lyons Building on the Dowagiac campus.

Admission is free. Good-will donations that benefit the Visual and Performing Arts Department are accepted.

The Men’s Ensemble, performing an arrangement of Billy Joel’s “Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)” written for the King’s Singers leads off the concert, followed by an arrangement of “Over the Rainbow” by adjunct voice instructor Marcus Roll.

The final two songs in the men’s set are popular folk settings of “Homeward Bound” and “In Flanders Fields” featuring solo trumpet.

Concert Choir appears next with two folk arrangements, “Saints Bound for Heaven” and “The Road Home” by Stephen Paulus.

Closing the first half will be the combined forces of SMC choirs, St. Joseph High School choirs and their nationally-recognized Chamber Orchestra in a performance of excerpts from Randall Thompson’s “Frostiana.”

SMC Director of Choral Activities David Carew said the town of Amherst, Mass., commissioned the seven-movement suite in 1959 to commemorate its bicentennial.

“Amherst was known for its association with Robert Frost, which is why it was decided to set several of his poems to music for this occasion,” Carew said.

The second half of the concert opens with SMC Show Choir and music of The Beatles, including "Yesterday," originally recorded for their 1965 album Help! and “Golden Slumbers/Carry that Weight” from their 1969 album Abbey Road.

The closing segment features an eclectic and primarily a cappella set by Select Voices, including two arrangements of “Bogórositsye Dyevo” (“Ave Maria”) by Russian master Sergei Rachmaninoff and Estonian composer Arvo Pärt.

Next comes the thick-textured, eight-part madrigal by 19th century English composer Robert Pearsall followed by one of Johannes Brahms’ most beloved part sings, “O Shöne Nacht.”

Also featured in this set is “There is a Balm in Gilead,” one of the selections performed in January at the eighth annual Detroit Spiritual Festival, where Select Voices captured the collegiate category.

The closing number, “A Brand New You” by Jason Robert Brown, was featured in the March 19 concert with the composer himself.