Just before Spring Break, the Tennessee Tech University Chorale embarked on a 5-day trip to Jacksonville, Fla. to perform at the annual Southern Division American Choral Directors Association convention.
While away, the University’s premiere choir sang as members of the Collegiate Combined Chorus, collaborating with choirs from the University of North Florida and Georgia State University, with accompaniment from the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra for the convention’s final performance.
The performance included works composed and arranged by musicians from the mother country, Great Britain, such as the royal coronation anthems “Zadok the Priest” and “I Was Glad When They Said Unto Me,” and the 40-minute cantata “Belshazzar’s Feast.”
The Collegiate Combined Chorus took direction from maestro Simon Halsey, conductor of the London Symphony Chorus and 3-time Grammy winner, for the convention’s final performance.
His choice to perform the final piece, “Belshazzar’s Feast,” was described by Dr. Craig Zamer, director of Tennessee Tech Choral Activities and Program Chair for the convention, as “the most challenging piece I’ve ever handed the ensemble to prepare and perform.” Additionally, Halsey admitted to the combined chorus during one of the convention’s rehearsals that the task of performing the piece was “choral suicide.”
After completing over 15 hours of rehearsal during the convention combined with additional previous preparation, the Chorale performed a combined set of five works in roughly an hour and a half for fellow singers, choral directors, and the general public at the Jacoby Concert Hall.
The Chorale’s participation in the convention drew regional visibility to the University’s choral program while potentially opening doors to opportunities and experiences in which the program aspires to achieve.