From:          Self 
To:            saseditr@stserv
Subject:       unsolicited concert review
Cc:            mizielin@ruby
Date:          Thu, 24 Apr 1997 15:24:24 -0500

Dear Editor -

I attended the choral concert presented last night by the University
Singers and the ISU Chorale.  I wanted to write my impressions of the
experience, and decided to forward a copy (unsolicited) to you in
case you were interested in publishing it in the Indiana Statesman. 
(See text below.)

I am also forwarding a copy to Dr. Zielinski, who conducted the
concert, in case he is interested in feedback from a member of the

- John G.



University Singers and ISU Chorale
     Dr. Richard Zielinski, Director

with guests
     ISU Faculty Brass Quintet
     Terre Haute Children's Choir

Wednesday, April 23, 1997, 7:30pm
Tilson Auditorium

As the program notes for this concert pointed out, Dr. Zielinski is
the Director of Choral Activities at ISU, and he will assume the
position of Music Director of the Terre Haute Choral Society next
fall.  As a new member of the Choral Society myself, I wanted to
observe Dr. Zielinski on stage to catch a glimpse of what to expect
later this year.

The program began with the University Singers performing J.S.
Bach's cantata 150, Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich ("For thee,
Lord, is my desire"), accompanied by Brenda Cates on the organ. The
balance was good among the voice parts, and the blending of the
soloists in the trio movement was especially impressive. This
listener had trouble hearing the words (granted I do not speak
German, although I have sung Bach), but this seemed to clear up as
the work progressed.  (Whether the chorus actually improved their
diction or my ears gradually adjusted, I cannot say.)

The next two sections of the concert were performed by the ISU
Chorale, a somewhat younger-sounding group.  The program was
somewhat confusing in that it listed "Three Hungarian Folk-Songs" but
showed four titles (one song was repeated in the actual performance),
but the singers wonderfully expressed the moods of the songs.  The
diction was exceptionally clear, even in the rapid passages.
("Crimson rose" would be difficult at any tempo, but the singers
managed to enunciate this with no hesitation.)

The pieces in the "African Heritage" section were joyfully
presented, complete with percussion repeating complex patterns
against the choral sounds of the "Halleluya!"  To the ears of
this listener, the sopranos tended to sing slightly sharp, but
this may have been due to the excitement of the pieces, and the
intonation of the group as a whole did not suffer because of it.

Then the University Singers returned for a series of sacred
anthems, during which the audience was so caught up in the music that
all applause was held until the entire section was over. The "Verbum
caro factum est" by Hassler was a masterful work, creating antiphonal
effects with ever-changing groupings of voices within the ensemble as
a whole.  

This was immediately followed by a piece by Tschesnokoff which
displayed many characteristics we have come to expect in Russian
sacred music: deep bass tones offset by women's voices floating in
high harmonies; full, rich sonorities; and a warm treatment of the
text.  My only complaint would be that the sopranos sounded at times
too heavy for the angelic choir I had imagined they were to represent
musically.  Overall, the deep meditative mood captured the audience
in a reverential hush.

The "Ave Maria" concluded the section, with a trio of soloists
standing out from the rest of the choir.  Again, the choir was
well balanced and the blending of the solo voices was very good.

Three "American Spirituals" followed, delivered with sincerity by the
ensemble.  At times the moving middle parts (alto and tenor) came
through so strongly that I had trouble hearing the sopranos singing
the melody at the low end of their range, but the overall mood was
not affected by this slight imbalance.

For the finale, Dr. Zielinski displayed his philosophy that music
should bring people together, and that participation is part of the
enjoyment of music, by selecting "How Firm a Foundation" in an
arrangement by ISU music faculty member Dr. David Watkins.  In this
performance, the University Singers and ISU Chorale were joined by
the Terre Haute Children's Choir and the ISU Faculty Brass Quintet. 
In addition, the audience (many of whom were parents of the members
of the Children's Choir) was invited to join in the fifth verse of
the hymn, thus involving everyone present in the performance.

The evening ended with the singing of the Indiana State
University Alma Mater, as the audience stood in tribute to Dr.
Watkins, whose 33 years of service as an ISU faculty member
(including his membership in the ISU Faculty Brass Quintet) have been
appreciated by many at the University and in the community at large.

As I left the auditorium, I felt satisfied with the performances, and
indeed edified by the program, that the University Singers and ISU
Chorale had presented.  My impression was that Dr. Zielinski is
capable of raising the standard of performance of choral music here
in Terre Haute to a new level of excellence, and that he has a desire
to share his passion with as many as will join him.  I believe we can
anticipate great things in the future from Dr. Zielinski, from the
Voice and Choral Division of the ISU Music Department, and from
community groups such as the Terre Haute Choral Society.

John Gallagher
April 24, 1997

John Gallagher
Indiana State University
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