Spring Choir Show Highlights American Composers

Santa Ana College Concert Chorale practices before their final Spring Choir concert Saturday, May 25th. Jessica Arredondo / el Don

Lights dim, students ascend the stage. The singers create a half circle around the piano facing the director. Strange musical warm-ups fill the room, oohs and ahs, shrieks and face stretching. The talent is ready for one final practice.

In an instant the singers get quiet, voices overlap and weave into something familiar. Otherworldly and beautiful, both choirs direct notes to the opposite end of Phillips Hall, shaking those standing near, maybe not with the force of their voices but with how awesome they sound.  

Going back to their roots for this weekend’s Spring Concert, the Santa Ana College’s Concert Chorale and Chamber Choir are dusting off old sheet music and singing a concert of songs by American composers like David C. Dickau, Jack Halloran and Aaron Copland.

“I thought: ‘Why buy new music when we have these songs that are perfectly fine?’ They are a bit older but why not,” Interim Choir Director Kristen Simpson said.  

The music is so familiar you can almost see the movie scenes playing along with the music being sung. “Zion’s Walls” by Aaron Copland sounds like music from the golden age of Disney. A princess and her true love meet in an embrace, the entire world is golden and happy, the music swells as the audience’s own heart rubs against their chest trying not to explode with cheesiness.  

Despite a few cheesy songs, the show has a more down to earth tone than previous concerts. With bright, colorful, and cool costumes, Anime Spectacular was full of  audience members in cosplay and packed in the sold out venue.

After two years of performing alongside the orchestras as part of the Anime Spectacular and Anime Spectacular 2.0, the choirs will perform solo.

The next Anime Spectacular is scheduled for this fall and will be directed by Director of Choral Music Elliot Jones.

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Some songs, like “Jabberwocky,” put you in an Alice in Wonderland-like trance. The song itself makes no sense, with made up words and wild shrieks from the singers. Known as a crazy, drug-inspired land of fantasy, the world of Wonderland is seen in fragments as the choir students use children instruments as advised by the composer. Rattles, tambourines are add liberally to recreate the wacky world.

The songs will be performed by two separate choirs, the Concert Chorale and the Chamber Choir. The Concert Chorale is open to anyone to any students that can sing. They sing less complex songs and the group is made up of more individuals that display a wide range of vocal ranges.

Chamber Choir is made up of more skilled individuals who were required to try out and show their skills. The group performs more intricate songs and require more practice then the Concert Chorale.

Rehearsing two days a week for the entire spring semester, the choir is ready for the end of the year show.

“During the fall semester, these students do have a concert but they have more practice during the spring semester so they get to showcase their [efforts] from the entire year,” Music Professor John Marr said.

The concert takes place on Saturday, May 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Phillips hall on the SAC campus. General Admission is $9.99, $6.99 for students with ID, staff, seniors, and military, and $4.99 for children 5-14. Buy tickets online here.

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