Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Cardinal Singers take on classic opera

By Jasely Molina

PSU Cardinal Singers and College Chorale collaborated to perform in SUNY Plattsburgh

Department of Music’s annual Choralfest concert, April 15 at the Plattsburgh United Methodist


         Members of the PSU and Plattsburgh community gathered to watch and listen as Cardinal

Singers and College Chorale celebrated the works of  Faure, Brahms, Dowland, and Hans Leo

Hassler. Cardinal Singers and College Chorale performed separate selections but merged

together to perform Faure’s “Requiem.” Choralfest directed by Jo Ellen Miano featured the

talents of Soprano Ayrice Wilson and Baritone Darik Knutsen in Gabriel Faure’s “Requiem.”

           Choralfest typically takes place in E. Glenn Giltz auditorium at SUNY Plattsburgh;

however, the Plattsburgh United Methodist Church provided the choirs with the acoustics and

organ essential to bring out the best quality. “We do have an electric organ that we could ship

anywhere, but there’s no comparison with the quality of the organ. I wanted to find a venue that

had a beautiful organ. The church was also very flexible and worked with us in terms of

equipment. They did a lot and really accommodated for us, ” Miano said.

         The event began with College Chorale’s rendition of Dowland’s “What If I Never Speed,”

Brahms’ “Wondrous Cool, Thou Woodland Quiet” and Hassler “Cantate Domino.” After that,

Cardinal Singers performed  Brahms’ Motet, Op. 29. An intermission followed as the orchestra

arranged its instruments, which consisted of  violas, cellos, bass, harp, French horns and pipe

organ. Shortly after, Cardinal Singers and College Choir united to perform “Requiem.  

         Professional Opera Singer Darik Knutsen joined the choirs and performed the baritone solo

in “Requiem” titled “Libera Me.” PSU Senior Ayrice Wilson performed the soprano solo “Pie


       “I’m really happy. This is a special piece for me. It is really touching. I haven’t done this

song in four years. It brought up a lot of memories, ” Knutsen said. Knutsen was contacted

through Miano and a former music student to fill in for the former baritone soloist. He was able

to rehearse with Miano prior to the show. He believes that the orchestra and choirs has a warm

ambience and sound. “It was lovely, we put together a nice audience,” he said.

        The choirs, orchestra, and soloists were met with applause from the audience. College

Chorale Tenor Tyler Lefleur found Choralfest to be an unforgettable experience. “This was my

second time participating in ChoralFest. It was a lot of fun to have the orchestra accompany the

choirs. The orchestra and choir complemented each other and gave the pieces a personal and

warm touch, ” Lefleur said. He explained that he had spent a lot of time working on learning the

song and solidifying the notes.

            PSU Senior Mariah Santiago attended Choralfest and was “blown away” by the

performance. This was her first time attending anything music related in Plattsburgh; however,

she intends on going to more shows. “I loved how professional everyone sounded. I wouldn’t

have been able to tell that these were college students. It was a job well done,” she said.

         Miano sees this year’s Choralfest as a success. She is excited about the next steps for the

Cardinal Singers and College Choir. Next semester, both choirs will be merging into “Concert


            “What we have have been doing for years with Choralfest, merging the two groups

together, we’ll now have for the whole semester. I’m really excited for that,” Miano said.

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