The Shippensburg University Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers closed their spring semester with a concert in the Shippensburg Messiah United Methodist Church Monday night.
Both ensembles, led by director Elizabeth Shoenfelt, prepared their repertoire all spring for the concert, titled “Homecomings.” Aptly named, the concert focused on returning home — whether that is a national origin or a lover’s arms.
Concert choir members opened the concert by surrounding the audience in their red and blue choir robes. A soft female introduction to “Muusika,” by Pärt Uusberg, led the rest of the choir into the song.
After the song, certain members shuffled out of the sanctuary. They removed their robes, revealing tuxedos and dresses, which indicated them to be part of the Madrigal Singers. The Madrigal Singers are the elite select group of singers selected from the concert choir.
They returned to the stage to perform “Jubilate Deo,” a piece from 16th century composer Orlando di Lasso, “I Waited Patient for the Lord,” by Richard Roberson, and “I Am Not Yours,” by David Dickau.
The Madrigal Singers quickly retreated into file with the concert choir to continue the concert with “Lead, Kindly Light.” This song began with a dark and mysterious tone that transitioned to bright and rejoiceful, then into a serene ending.
The concert moved onto a set of more Gaelic songs, which started with “O Whistle and I’ll Come to Ye,” which Shoenfelt confirmed was a song about love. She also clarified that this method of wooing was a norm in the time that it originated.
The concert moved onto “My Heart’s in the Highlands,” by Donna Gartman Schultz. The selection of Celtic tunes toned down with “Molly Malone,” a piece that was arranged by SU’s very own Blaine Shover, former director of the SU Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers.
The group then went off-script to sing “Happy Birthday” to a guest in the audience Bill Dean, who turned 85 years old and supported SU’s music program for many years. After Shoenfelt recognized Dean’s commitment to the arts, the group moved onto the final numbers of the concert.
The concert choir then performed Jaakko Mäntyjärvi’s “Pseudo Yoik,” a play on the Finnish stereotypes of the Sami traditionalists that live on the very fringes of society. After this, the madrigal singers performed their last number, “Shenandoah,” a peaceful Appalachian folk tune arranged by James Erb. The concert ended with “Nothin’ Gonna Stumble My Feet,” a fast-paced gospel by John Parker and Greg Gilpin.