By Caitlyn Stultz | email@example.com
On Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m., the Radford Choir Ensembles put on their fall concert titled ‘Love is Love is Love.’ The show was located in the Performance Hall in the Covington Center.
Radford University hosts three different choir groups; University Chorus, University Chorale, and Radford Singers, all under the direction of Dr. Meredith Bowen. The three groups consist of over 100 members combined.
When entering the concert, attendees were given rainbow pride ribbons along with their programs. The choir members were also wearing the ribbons on stage.
The concert opened with Dr. Bowen speaking about Matthew Shepard, a University of Wyoming student killed in 1998 by two men because he was homosexual. Dr. Bowen said that she wanted the night to celebrate all types of love, and the songs they would be singing celebrated many different types of love.
Along with singing, the concert also consisted of choreography, piano, violin, and percussion. Songs were sung in multiple languages, such as English, German, Spanish, Bulgarian, and Zulu. A total of 13 songs were sung that night.
The choirs started rehearsing for this concert at the beginning of the Fall semester, so they had been practicing for a total of seven weeks.
Lorainia Weikle, a junior at Radford University in the University Chorale, said “I loved the theme Love is Love is Love. [Dr. Bowen] said it went really well, and she was really proud of how quickly we were able to memorize the songs. My favorite song tonight was Nyon Nyon, sung by the Radford Singers. I also really loved the first piece we did, Ergen Deda, and I’d say that was the piece we worked hardest on.”
Nyon Nyon, the first song of the night, was written by Jake Runestad. On his website, Runestad says, “Nyon Nyon is an exploration of the effects that one can produce with the human voice. I created original words to achieve varieties of colors and mixed and matched them within the ensemble to produce a diverse sonic landscape.”
The Radford Singers added choreography to their performance of the song and sang without the conduction of Dr. Bowen.
Kevin Pham, a sophomore in the University Chorus, said, “It was super fun and rewarding to see all of our music come together and sound so good.”
Near the end of the concert, Dr. Bowen spoke more on love. She recited Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2016 Tony Award acceptance speech, which is where the title of the show gets its name. Miranda gave the speech soon after the 2016 Orlando mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub.
Dr. Bowen quotes Miranda saying, “We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer and love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.”
The concert ended with two songs sung by the three choirs together. The first being “Love is Love is Love is Love” by Abbie Betinis. Dr. Bowen taught the audience a part to sing, so everyone in the room would be singing. With the performance hall being almost at capacity, the auditorium was full of singing.
The very last song was “All of Us” composed by Craig Hella Johnson from Considering Matthew Shepard, a 2016 album based on the life of Shepard.
Camden Ferris, a junior at Radford University, said about the performance, “Matthew [Shepard] would have been proud.”
Matthew Shepard’s life and death also inspired the writing of the play The Laramie Project. The play will be performed by the Radford Theatre Department in the Pridemore Playhouse inside of Porterfield Hall on Oct. 16, Oct. 18 to Oct 21.
Photo Credit: (Caitlyn Stultz | The Tartan)