Centenary College performance groups join forces for concert April 7

Dr. Cory Wikan directs Camerata at the recent Centenary High School Choral Festival

SHREVEPORT, LA — The Centenary College Choir and the Camerata choral group will come together to present “Centenary Choir and Camerata in Concert” on Saturday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m. in Anderson Auditorium at Centenary’s Hurley School of Music. The performance is free and open to the public.

This concert gives both Centenary ensembles the chance to show off the results of an unusual collaboration this semester. The groups have “exchanged” conductors on a regular basis, exposing students to varied styles of rehearsal technique and performance preparation and giving the conductors a chance to dive more deeply into certain musical genres.

Dr. David Hobson, director of choral activities and director of the Centenary College Choir, has been working with Camerata on choral chamber music composed for smaller ensembles. Dr. Cory Wikan, assistant professor of music and director of Camerata, prepared the Choir for its March 24 performance of Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra.

Hobson praises Wikan for his work with the Choir in preparing the difficult Chichester Psalms, while Wikan notes that Camerata has enjoyed the chance to learn from Hobson in a more intimate rehearsal setting. Hobson explains that, as conductors, he and Wikan usually have similar priorities in rehearsal, but might have different ways of expressing the same concept or focus. These small variances in pedagogy or language sometimes unlock a new understanding for the ensemble, a lesson that is especially useful for their students who are themselves interested in conducting.

Hobson often has to consider the possibility of encountering a less than ideal acoustic environment when he creates the annual touring program for the Centenary College Choir, so he has also appreciated the chance to work with Camerata on pieces that he knew would benefit from Anderson Auditorium’s excellent acoustics.

“For this concert, being able to work up some classic English Cathedral pieces with Camerata gives me the opportunity to explore some of my favorite rep without fear of encountering a bad acoustic,” says Hobson. “Unpacking the extraordinary harmonic plan in one of the great funeral anthems, Herbert Howells’ Take Him, Earth for Cherishing, has been a joy. Since most of the Camerata members are music majors, I can employ some more specific language of music theory in exploring how these harmonies work with the text in the rehearsal.”

At the April 7 concert, each ensemble will perform its own selections, as well as unite to sing others, under the direction of both Hobson and Wikan. The program includes choral works by Howells, Tavener, Paulus, Bernstein, Clausen, and others.

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