Fannin Hall was filled with song during performances by the three Richland vocal ensembles led by professor Melissa Logan, April 11.
Seventeen male singers of varying vintages called the RichMen, began the program with "The Dawn's Awake," a joyful celebration of the sunrise by Laura Farnell. This was followed by the sacred piece, "Pie Jesu" by Mary Lynn Lightfoot and "Fill A Me Up!" a spiritual by Pepper Choplin sung a capella to the beat of a conga drum played expertly by accompanist Wana Hong.
The RichMen filed off stage to be replaced by a choir of 15 women known as Vox Femina. The women delivered four exquisite songs, opening with "Deo Dicamus Gratias" by Victor Johnson, giving thanks to God. Then came "Down in the River to Pray," by Matthew Culloton, an a capella spiritual. At this point the group used written scores, and sang "Lunar Lullaby" by Jacob Naverud. As a final work, they smilingly sputtered a clever ditty taken from Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" called "Lobster Quadrille" by David Eddleman.
A mixed chorus of men and women was labeled on the program simply as Chamber. They completed the concert with four sonorous pieces including works by Whitacre, Rossini, Choplin and Paulus.
Perhaps even more inspiring than the luscious sounds coming from the stage was the animated directing and intense preparation demonstrated by Logan. During one of the breaks she came to the microphone to brag on her singers and thank them for their dedication and hard work. It was indeed impressive that so much of the performance was sung a capella and without the aid of musical scores.
Even more notable, however, was Logan's energy and expertise at the podium. Sometimes serene and sometimes quick, her two hands kept an unfaltering beat and were continuously at work coaxing the glorious voices to their very best. To the singers' credit, all eyes were fixed on those hands and their vocal cords responded in kind. It was that kind of day.