By Fleming Smith
Photo by Lam Ho (C’17)
On April 22 in All Saints’ Chapel, the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra and the University Choir hosted a concert entitled “Gloria in Spring” to honor the retirements of Dr. Robert Delcamp and Susan Rupert. This concert marked the first time the orchestra and choir performed together.
A member of the orchestra, Tess Steele (C’18), says, “The collaboration between the choir and orchestra added a dynamism to the performance, especially in a venue like All Saints’. The approach to how you play changes when you are accounting for a choir, and I found that helped me play more musically. I think many students found the joint concert exciting and hope for similar events in the future.”
The orchestra first played Shostakovich’s “Festive Overture,” a triumphant and whimsical number that started the night on a high note. Their next piece was “Organ Symphony No. 1,” which included the introduction, the pastorale, and the final. Delcamp accompanied the orchestra on the organ, lending the dramatic, reverential musical tones to the performance. Dr. César Leal conducted these two pieces.
In the middle of the concert, Leal took time to briefly honor the contributions of Delcamp and Rupert to Sewanee’s musical heritage. He also brought attention to the senior members of the orchestra and choir who will shortly graduate, including Joshua Yap (C’16), a member of the orchestra for eight years since his time at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee. Katherine Lehman, concertmaster, received several gifts in recognition for her work, as she plans to begin work at another school next fall. The choir and the audience sang “Auld Lang Syne” in tribute of all the members of the Sewanee music community leaving as the year ends.
The choir began their section of the concert, accompanied by the orchestra, with Mendelssohn’s “Hear my prayer/O for the wings of the dove.” Susan Rupert, soprano, sang a solo and was later joined by the rest of the choir. The choir sang another piece by Mendelssohn entitled “Christus Op. 97,” which regards the birth of Jesus and the arrival of the three Wise Men, and includes the recitative, the trio, and the chorus, mixing the different voices of all the choir members to create a true harmony.
Choir member Breaux Tubbs (C’18) says, “When we all came together for the first time, it sounded awesome. It’s not often you see over 80 people working together in so many different ways.” The last piece of the concert, “The Old Hundredth Psalm Tune” by Vaughan Williams, involved singing by both the choir and the audience.
The “Gloria in Spring” concert truly honored spring, and its members who are similarly starting a new chapter in their lives, through the true spirit of cooperation in creating something beautiful.