The string section of the Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra opened this Saturday’s Friends and Family Concert with a slight instrument malfunction. Neal Hampton, the director, explained the issue as being a result of the dry weather in the fall, making tuning instruments extremely difficult. However, as soon as the violin was fixed, the orchestra began their beautiful performance of Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins in D minor. The two soloists, Hannah Ryu ’23 and Rachel Sih ’22, held an elegant exchange throughout the piece, skillfully tossing the lyrical ball between the two violins. The rest of the orchestra supported the violins gracefully, especially in the second movement when the piece became more languid. The music of strings flowed throughout the chapel, taking full advantage of the acoustics in the hall. As the orchestra ended and the stage was being set for the next group, there was an announcement from the president of the Wellesley College Choir about the organization’s rose fundraiser. The fundraiser is for the tour the choir goes on every spring. This year they will be traveling to Georgia and South Carolina.
The Wellesley Chamber Music Society then performed a Suite from L’Histoire du Soldat for Clarinet, Violin and Piano by Igor Stravinsky. The music was filled with dissonance and chaos, making it an extremely difficult piece to perform. However, the three students, clarinetist Ericka Zhang ’22 violinist Eugenia Zhang ’22 and pianist Kana Yamada ’23 performed in sync with each other. Both movements were short and held bursts of energy and impressive scales of ups and downs.
The Wellesley Chamber Singers opened the second half of the concert, led by Dr. Lisa Graham, director of the Wellesley College Choir. This year the Chamber Singers performed two of their pieces from an upcoming program of Estonian songs by Estonian composers with an Estonian ensemble next week. The first piece is titled Lauliku lasepõli, a traditional Estonian piece sung in Estonian. The music was beautiful, led by a strong group of soloists: Genevieve Welch ’22, Izzy Gelfand ’20 and Katie Rabogliatti ’21. The rest of the ensemble accompanied them with bursts of harmony and amazingly sustained notes throughout the song. The next song, Ave Maris Stella, was just as beautiful, filling the chapel with a round and full sound with interlacing canons and echoing. The piece was a combination of cascades and deep chanting-like moments, ending in an array of harmonies.
The Wellesley College Choir closed the concert with a magnificent performance. They began with Juntas, a piece they first sang during Flower Sunday. The original music was titled Juntos, in masculine form but the choir changed the words throughout the piece to feminine form. The music had quick samba aspects to it as well as moments of long elegant harmonies. Their second piece is called Saro and they were joined by the Chamber singers. It is originally a folk song from the British Isles that was brought to America in a settlement in Appalachia. The composer uses soloist and violin to express the words of somebody who has left their home country and all of their loved ones behind. Ellie Erb ’20 began the piece with a strong solo, singing about the sorrows the music invokes. The violin played by Eugenia Zhang ’22 and the choir join her, echoing her words and whispers of “Saro.” The notes fell on top of each other like a waterfall, supported by the violin throughout the piece. Cassiana Robinson ’22 ended the piece with the same solo that started the song her voice floating above the note the ensemble holds behind her.
The final piece sung by the choir was called Cikala le Pong Pong. The choir encountered this piece on their last tour in the Pacific Northwest while singing with the Portland Chamber Choir. It is a Malaysian song whose lyrics talk about how “aggressive” women are. Izzy Smith ’22 took on the dramatic solo at the beginning of the song filled with exciting claps and stomps from the choir. Abigail George ’23 held another solo in the piece with a strong Soprano shriek towards the end. The music moved through the audience with fervor and received a standing ovation at the end. The concert ended with Dr. Graham inviting alumnae and Wellesley students to sing along as the choir lead the audience through the Alma Mater.