A Luminous Night for Music Lovers
By Regina Zabinski
Music lovers recently had the opportunity to cozily spend a bleak December night at the Winter Concert in Cambridge on December 8, 2016.
In spite of the bitterly cold temperatures outdoors, the auditorium filled to capacity and had standing room only by the beginning of the concert. Four different ensembles brought together faculty, staff, students and community members to hear an impressive musical medley.
Variety, in fact, could be said to be the night’s one unifying theme. After opening the evening with a classic salsa piece by Tito Puente, Eric Anderson’s Guitar Ensemble moved on through a few European folk songs and a contemporary French Christmas carol. Their last solo, an original piece written by Anderson, had distinctive hints of Japanese influence.
Guitar gave way to the Chamber Ensemble, a unique group whose character evolves by the semester with a constant flow of musicians and talents. Director Eric Anderson frequently composes music especially for the instruments being played each semester, ensuring that every performance is unique.
This semester the ensemble featured oboe, trombone, violin, piano, and guitar, creating a rich sound that carried the audience through classic jazz piece “Blue Skies” and two more Anderson originals.
Anderson told the audience members that they would have to guess from where the last song, mysteriously titled “Summer in Buenos Aires,” took its name. Only careful listeners caught the melody of “Jingle Bells” intertwined with the last few bars of the toe-tapping salsa.
Choral sounds took center stage with the appearance of the Acapella Club and their solo, while the concert choir followed up with selections from a Bach cantata. Ola Gejilo’s “Luminous Night of the Soul,” however, seemed to dominate the performance.
“My favorite part [about being in the choir] was ‘Luminous Night’ and performing that with everyone,” soprano Hannah Beaufeaux said enthusiastically.
Choir director Randal Buikema agreed that the choir members “absolutely love” performing the piece. An exhilarating melody, stirring lyrics praising the source of inspiration for all art and obvious passion from the chorale carried off a piece that makes audience members feel that they could be listening to a professional cathedral choir instead of sitting in Cambridge, Minnesota.
Nevertheless, Dr. Buikema felt that the implications of the choir’s achievements went far beyond a single song. “I think it unifies people that normally wouldn’t be unified,” he said.
“It gives an opportunity for students from different backgrounds to put those differences aside and come together to perform something that we’re all unified in doing, and that doesn’t happen very often.”
The concert’s finale was introduced with the famous Monty Python line, “And now for something completely different!” The combined ensembles wished their audience a Merry Christmas with “Feliz Navidad” and ended the luminous night for music lovers—until next semester.