REVIEW: Barnard-Columbia Chorus performs at Carnegie Hall for Haiti
Last night, while their peers knocked back beers at Havana Central, the members of the Barnard-Columbia Chorus took the stage at Carnegie Hall and sung Bach’s celebrated Mass in B Minor in a benefit concert for Doctors Without Borders in Haiti.
The chorus sang to a mostly full auditorium made up of families and only a small number of students. Once the choristers took the stage (along with their partner choir, L’Ensemble Médical) they were welcomed with a full applause.
Sophie Delaunay, executive director of Doctors Without Borders, kicked off the show by thanking the conductor, Gundi Gabrielle, and both choirs for participating in the concert. Delaunay also praised the audience for its support of those struggling in Haiti. She also informed us that over 20,000 of her colleagues were delivering medical assistance to people in need as she spoke.
With Gabrielle as the chorus master, four professional soloists sat front and center with the orchestra and both choirs behind. According to the program, the soloists have performed all over the world—from Los Angeles to Paris, Brussels, and beyond—and it was apparent in their voices and stage presence.
The choir had equal amounts of males and females, and the soprano and alto section had firm, full voices. The tenor and the bass sounded very clear, and the bass singers (who were for the most part Columbia students) were particularly strong and sang with a lot of authority.
The work began in the key of B minor followed by a long fugue. The “Gloria” section of the mass featured colorful instruments, but the choir stood out most in the “Credo” section, when it contrasted single chorale lines and supplied joyful harmonies. Considering the complexity of Bach’s piece and the allure of the prestigious venue, the concert truly felt like a world-class performance.
Be sure to check out the Barnard-Columbia Chorus’ Facebook page to see what they’re up to next.
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