Home Music Concordia’s “Glee” graces the stage

Concordia’s “Glee” graces the stage

by Elizabeth Mackay December 4, 2011
Concordia’s “Glee” graces the stage

Photo by: Andrew McNeill

The Con Chord Singers clenched their stomachs to control their breathing, tapped their vocal chords and bounced one note through their throats until it erupted from their lips to produce a harmony that swallowed every corner of Oscar Peterson Concert Hall. They swayed and stomped to the beat of a drum, pulled their microphones away from their stands and clutched the loose cable, under their directors instruction, ‘the way a cowboy prepares a lasso.’
The nine members of Concordia’s jazz choir, many of whom are not registered music students, crawled out of their shells and into character at their fall concert on Wednesday, Nov. 30.
“The whole spirit of singing is contagious,” said Concordia professor Jeri Brown, who was inspired by the popularity of television’s Glee, sing-offs like American Idol, and the music department’s new downtown home to make this choir open to all university students.
Brown is the director of vocal studies and has directed the jazz choir since its creation. In earlier years, it was available only to qualifying registered members of the music department.
“There are some fabulously talented singers out there who have already chosen other majors but for a release would love to be in a choir,” said Brown. “That’s why I worked so hard to make this available to all students.”
“I relish the individual who wants to join the jazz choir, who thinks they can sing and trusts in the direction we can provide,” she continued. “It’s coming of age. Music happens all over the place and that is what this course is all about.”
Shira Amar, a third-year finance student, registered in the jazz choir class for fun, but said that it requires participants who believe they can sing, have musical capabilities, and “show a want and need to do this.”
Brown said that it was a challenge and blessing to make the choir open to all students; it welcomed soloists and big personalities into an environment that aimed to blend many voices into one.
According to first-year biology student, Cynthia Othieno, they’ve succeeded. “We have become a nice little unit of singers,” she said.
“We perform spiritual work songs, pop and everything in between. All with jazz chord arrangements,” added Christian Brun Del Re, the choir’s percussionist, and a first-year drum performance major.
“Jazz was the popular music of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Pop is currently the jazz of today. Not to include pop music in this choir would be a mistake,” said Brown.
The choir performs songs with familiar lyrics but in new arrangements, accompanied by a pianist, percussionist, and bass player.
“This is what the school offers, even if you’re in a different program, it’s important to know what other students are doing,” said Amelia McFall, a first-year English literature student. “You never know what might tickle your fancy, you might even want to join the choir next semester.”

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