One Voice inspires with praise

The One Voice choral ensemble rocked the Fikes Chamber Performance Hall Oct 10- Oct 11 with music that brought its audience on an emotional joyride.

The concert began in reverence with Salvator Mundi from Requiem, written by Herbert Howells. The song detailed in heart-aching, searing beauty, an expression of loss that echoed with every line throughout the performance hall. The choir sang “Save us! Help us!” tenderly as the piece concluded.

Taking a few steps back in time with traditional selections such as Canticum B.Simeonis Herr, nun lässest Du Deinen Diener and Cantate Domino, by Heinrich Schütz, which were performed in the late 1500s and early 1600s carried the typical cathedral sound partial to church music of the time period. It was this sound that served as the cornerstone for choral music as a whole, even now. One Voice’s seamless performance of this very sound had the audience at a standstill; they basked in the melancholic melodies that washed over them as three soloists, James Jones, Cydney Wilkerson and Sarah Ash sang to represent the Blessed Soul of the Fallen, the Holy Spirit, and the Seraphim, while the rest of the ensemble carried on as the procession. This piece included wonderful, solemn instrumentation provided by Lisa Clement, organist and voice teacher at UMHB, Ashton Yarbrough, a student at Temple College and cellist Nathaniel Keefer, a teacher at Lamar Middle School in Temple.

What was truly astounding was One Voice’s flexibility in mastering the execution of so many different styles of voice and song. Singing in order from year of release and style (from traditional to modern to something in-between at the program’s closure), the One Voice program consisted of classic choral, gospel, contemporary christian and even a funky be-doop style partial to barber shop singers in the 40s.

“I auditioned for One Voice because I had heard about all the things they had performed and I wanted to be a part of their legacy,” said freshmen music education major and One Voice member, Chandler Webb.
“When I auditioned for the ensemble, one of the things I told the director during my meeting with him was I wanted to grow in two ways,” Webb said. “Spiritually and musically. I feel that this ensemble has done both …for me because we have sung in so many styles that all praise God, “ Webb said.

Throughout the performance, a sense of comradery could be felt in the singers as they swayed, snapped, clapped and even kazooed together. It was infectious in nature, spreading to the audience.

“The thing I like the most about One Voice is we’re a family growing and worshiping Jesus together,” freshmen vocal performance major and One Voice member Christopher McCloskey said.

This spirit was felt deeper as the concert came to a close with the choir’s performance of “God is All Around,” arranged by Robert Sterling. This is when the One Voice members and One Voice alumni surrounded the audience and joined in song.
“The thing I enjoyed most about the One Voice concert is the singers,” senior vocal performance major Stassny Bickham.
“My favorite part of the concert was when they performed “God Is All Around.” It’s so amazing to see people who were in the group from years ago join in to sing together. I felt joy listening to my friends sing this song and seeing the joy on their faces,” Bickham said.

The performance was one of extraordinary proportions, and will be remembered by those who shared in the emotional experience.

“It never fails to bring peace to the people listening,” Bickham said.

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