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‘Light in the Darkness’ concert shines

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The “Light in the Darkness” concert was held at the Cathedral of Saint Andrews. Photo courtesy Michigan 360 Virtual Tours.

The “Light in the Darkness” concert was held at the Cathedral of Saint Andrews. Photo courtesy Michigan 360 Virtual Tours.

The “Light in the Darkness” concert was held at the Cathedral of Saint Andrews. Photo courtesy Michigan 360 Virtual Tours.

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The “Light In The Darkness” concert was held this past Friday, Nov. 10, at the historic Cathedral of Saint Andrew in downtown Grand Rapids. It was directed by Dr. Pearl Shangkuan and performed by the Capella and Women’s Chorale.

The wooden pews of the cathedral were full as the Women’s Chorale opened the concert with the a cappella chant “Kyrie Angelis.” The lyrics translate to “Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.” The soloists for this song included were Kali Reese (junior), Erica Buursma (senior) and Mikayla Singletary (freshman).

The Capella came to the front of the cathedral as they sang the next two pieces, “Elegy” by Daniel Elder and “Sing Me To Heaven” by Daniel Gawthrop. “Elegy” is a lament that alludes to “Taps,” often heard at military memorial services. Even though the music had a sorrowful tone, the lyrics were filled with hope; the end of the song stated, “As we go, this we know: God is nigh.” This song included soloists Kendra Walters, Jennifer Randall and Erica Buursma.

From the balcony of the European-esque cathedral, Women’s Chorale sang “O Vos Omnes” by Tomás Luis de Victoria followed by the chromatic and somewhat unsettling piece, “Kyrie Eleison” by Hank Badings.

The concert then transitioned into Capella singing Ola Gjeilo’s lengthy piece,“Dark Night of the Soul.” Through its melodies and energy, the song invited the audience  to go on a journey with the choir. This song included the choir’s accompanist Linda Hoisington on piano, along with a string quartet of senior Joshua Parks (violin), sophomore Christine Vermeer (violin), alumna Angela Dieleman ‘16 (viola) and alumnus Luke Tilma ‘17 (cello).

Women’s Chorale then sang “Let All the World in Every Corner Sing” by Andrea Ramsey. Following this was Dan Forrest’s arrangement of the hymn “Be Thou My Vision.”

Nearing the end of the concert, Shangkuan took a moment to talk about the great importance of having this concert, especially with the darkness we see in the world today. She gave hopes that we might “triumph through our sorrows and rise to blessings still.” The Capella then finished out the last set of the concert with “Cantate Domino” by Claudio Monteverdi and “Do Not Be Afraid” by Philip Stopford. The song is based on Isaiah 43, in which verses four through five read: “Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.”

At different times throughout the song, soprano soloist Kalina Reese repeated “do not be afraid,” which resonated throughout the cathedral. Shangkuan allowed this piece to take its time, feeling through every note and word, holding out the last chord of the song as it completed the phrase, “you are mine.”

Soon after, the thunderous sound of the organ, played by Kenneth Bos, rang throughout the cathedral as the choirs and audience members sang the last hymn, “O God Beyond All Praising,” to the tune of “Jupiter” from Holst’s “The Planets.” The organ encompassed the voices as the sound of praise seeped through every crevasse of the cathedral, filled the aisle ways, and went past the walls of the cathedral out into the city of Grand Rapids.

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