Choir Concert Observation
I went to Minnesota Chorale's Bridges Concert: African Voices. It was a very interesting program. There were over 5 groups performing, so there was a lot of diversity. It was also interesting to hear the differences in performance practice between the ensembles. Although all the groups were singing African music, they each delivered it very differently. The African International Ensemble had a bright, forward sound that was delivered with a casual and entertaining voice. There were yelps and drumming and clapping. Whereas, the contemporary music ensemble of St. Olaf had a darker, more rounded sound. The swayed to the music but the were much more uptight.
The conducting really varied as well. The director of the African Ensemble was similarly laid back and did not beat patterns but game simple cues for entrances and showed the music through the movement in his body. He was showing his enjoyment of the music rather than keeping track of each microbeat. In the more "European" ensembles, the directors kept a constant beat, although it seemed as if their patterns were more relaxed than they would be in other types of music.
The concert showed a wonderful variety of choral sounds, delivery, and conductors. It was great to see that although there are millions of ways to perform or interpret a piece of music, if you pick one and execute it with confidence and intensity it will generally end up a positive experience. The concert showed me that things CAN be done in several ways.