Saturday, June 28, 2014, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City was host to the penultimate event of the one week Kantorei Summer Choral Institute, the showcase concert. Area kids from ages 10 – 14 (girls and boys whose voices had not changed) formed the Treble Choir, and teens from 14 – 18 formed the Concert Chorale. Twenty-nine collegiate singers from around the country formed the Choral Scholars in three days of rehearsal.
The Artistic Director of Kantorei, Chris Munce, served as Artistic Director of the institute and directed the senior chorus and Kantorei. Guest Clinician, Mark Lawley is the Director of Music Education at Drury University, and directed the treble group. The second Guest Clinician, who trained and conducted the high school group was Dr. Ryan Board, Director of Choral Activities at Pepperdine University. Each conductor has a long list of personal musical achievements which validates the expectation for advancing the skills of the participants.
The program began with Kantorei and the Treble Chorus gathered on the north chancel steps to sing Moses Hogan’s moving setting of “This Little Light of Mine.” The young ones then trooped to the rear choir loft for their next numbers, Nancy Hill Cobb’s (b. 1951) Cantate Domino and a setting of Psalm 23 by Srul Irving Glick (b. 1964) which were nicely done, without the sound of breathlessness from the stair climbing, thanks to a brief set of announcement by board President, David Musgrave. They returned to the chancel steps for two more numbers; Cuncti Simus by Ricardo Soto had the pleasant addition of an oboe and a conga drum.
Ryan Board met the Concert Chorale in the choir loft; they began with a stylistically correct Gregorian Chant, Inviolata integra, et casta es Maria. Their performance of Edvard Grieg’s (1843-1907) Ave Maria Stella, was particularly well-blended and effective. Presumably, the baritone hoarseness will be overcome by the time they are in college.
The Choral Scholars led with a beautiful presentation of the, Kyrie and Gloria from the Missa Brevis, by Dietrich Buxtehude (1630-1707). Tungarre, by Stephen Leek (b. 1959) based on a Aboriginal Australian song, was unique, well done and energetic. The group assembled on the chancel steps for its last two numbers. O Salutaris Hostia, by Eriks Esenvalds (b. 1977) featured an added duet of two sopranos from Kantorei, Beth Munce and Amy Krinke, was a crowning event of the evening; the individual soprano solo obbligati were haunting, but when they joined in a high harmony above the never-flenching choir, the effect was angelic.
Kantorei sang three pieces, Odecha ki antani, by Salomone Rossi (1571 – 1630) “I Am the Rose of Sharon,” by Ivo Antognini (b. 1963) and “Drop, Drop, Slow Tears,” by Paul Mealor (b. 1975) these were presented well, and underscored what can be accomplished with a group of professional singers who form a continuing ensemble.
The entire ensemble gathered near the chancel steps to sing, “Hymn to the Eternal Flame.” The trebles lined up the length of both northern aisles to sing their antiphonal responses. The festive piece brought the sizeable crowd to its feet.