May is the month for music. The Lucia Singers and St. Ansgar’s Chorus will perform in Christ Chapel May 16 at 7:30 p.m. under the direction of Dr. Brandon Dean. Dr. Chad Winterfeldt will be leading the two handbell choirs of Chirst Chapel in their first annual concert on May 17 at 7:30 p.m. in Christ Chapel.
Both directors are very excited about presenting their groups.
“It’s the culminating event of the year together. We get to see the growth of performance from fall to present,” Dean said.
It is especially exciting for the handbell group because they have been playing in Chapel for Wednesday Morning Prayer the past few years and have gone on tour before, but have never had regular performances. This year the groups showed interest performing regularly.
“I’m hoping in the future our handbell choir can have more opportunities to perform—maybe a fall and spring recital, and hopefully more tours, because those are really fun,” Junior Shelby Roles said.
The handbell group has worked very hard the past few years to build their repertoire.
“I’m really pleased with the progress they’ve made over the past several years,” Winterfeldt said. “They’re a very advanced group … good ringers.”
Many of the members have picked up ringing while at Gustavus. Some had friends in the ensemble and after seeing how much they enjoyed it, decided to join as well.
“Handbells is very simple to learn, [especially] if you play another instrument,” Roles said.
Each person holds two bells and plays just a few notes.
“It’s a lot of focus on rhythm … once you get the hang of it though it’s pretty simple to improve with practice,” Roles said.
The handbell group will be performing a variety of different music at their upcoming concert.
“We always do some Disney tunes,” Winterfeldt said.
The Lucia and St. Ansgar’s Choirs will also be performing a slightly different variety of music at their concert.
“There’s not usually a theme during concerts,” Dean said.
For this concert, the first half will be a general look at many of the different voices of love, while the second half of the concert will be in memory of loved ones lost. There is a big emphasis on how music can be used to heal, especially in the midst of recent tragedies this past year.
“Both choirs have developed a great sense of warmth and beauty to their vocal tone,” Dean said. “[I’m excited to] show off the diversity of sounds and texts being sung—the unique colors, that’s always fun too.”
These choirs have worked extremely hard all year with their vocal technique and modifying choral sounds to fit the particular style of music.
“They’ve taken great strides from a musical standpoint,” Dean said.
“It’s been really special to be a part of both groups, I’m excited to share them with the Gustavus community,” Dean said.
As for next year, he hopes the choirs can continue with the tradition of excellence that Gustavus is known for.