The Stiefel Theatre
By Lydia Lowe
(all photo's by Bob Hunter)
The lights came down and a choir of men's voices filled the inside of The Stiefel Theatre this past Sunday night. Cantus never sounded better. Tonight's show was about questions, the universal question/theme for the evening was: When we gather together, how does singing help us celebrate, help us inspire, and help us heal?
Song and singing was explored in a variety of entertaining ways. The songs were set together in groups of three; everything from work songs (Simple Gifts-a traditional American song), to songs of prayer (Ave Maria), to songs of war and protest (Rainbow 'Round my Shoulder-a traditional African American song). The question explored with these songs was: "How can we keep from singing" in the midst of life all around us. The audience was left to ponder that question and draw their own conclusions from within themselves as a wide variety of songs were presented. These songs were not well known songs which caused the audience to really listen to the words and hear the actual notes of the song, to ponder on new ways of seeing their world through song.
After a brief intermission other questions were raised. The audience sang Happy Birthday to one of the members of the group. And the song Row, Row, Row Your Boat was sung in a three-part round by the audience. It's amazing how songs get into our heads at early ages and never seem to leave us. They become national treasures.
Songs such as When We Sing seemed to ask the question of what prompts the human race as a whole to raise their voices in song? There was a variety of songs from far off places, such as: Australia (Waltzing Matilda), and Ireland (Danny Boy). Fun songs such as: Tjak!, which celebrated monkey warriors. This song was so much fun. The group began the song with their backs to the audience and then slowly turned around and were in full monkey mode, as they sang they pantomimed monkey stature and sang the song as though they were the monkey soldiers. It was hilarious!
There was even time for some good 'ol American Barbershop music,with the traditional Barbershop song that we all know: Keep America Singing.