“I love performing with our Gospel Choir, I thought we rocked the house down!” said Elizabeth Wilson, member of the Gospel Choir. John Watson, publicist and house manager, said even though enrollment is down at Lane, attendance and support for the performing arts is not. Approximately 140 supporters were in attendance at The Winter Choirs Concert on Friday, Mar. 5 at Ragozzino Performance Hall.
The Lane Concert Choir and The Lane Chamber Choir, both directed by Matthew Svoboda, and The Lane Gospel Choir directed by Vicki Brabham performed.
The evening opened with The Lane Concert Choir performing “Daa Naa Se,” a traditional Ghanaian folk song. August Grimes, new to the Eugene community, said that “Daa Naa Se” was one of her favorites from the evening’s performances. The Concert Choir ended with George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun.” Svoboda disclosed that Harrison had written the song while visiting his good friend Eric Clapton.
The Lane Chamber Choir, also directed by Matthew Svoboda, began their portion of the program with “O Sifuni Mungu.” This was “a fun piece to listen to and it looked like the choir was having fun performing it,” Lane student Elizabeth Kinney said. The Chamber Choir finished with the Beatles song “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da,” written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
Soloists Martha Moultry and Sarah Burkhart opened The Lane Gospel Choir program with “So Glad I’m Free.” Grimes said that the song was another favorite of hers and enjoyed Moultry and Burkhart’s voices together. Vicki Brabham, director of the gospel choir, referred to Moultry as her “go-to soloist.”
Brabham had told soloist Taryn Scudder to go all the way when performing “Lord, I’ll Go All the Way,” and maybe she did. Some audience members gave her a standing ovation with many more clapping and cheering.
Before her second solo, Moultry said that during similar gospel performances, she has seen people yelling out, standing up, raising their hands, and being moved by the Gospel. She said that the audience was “acting very white” and that she would like them to allow the music to move them and yell out if they felt like it, stand up and be moved. Some audience members did. Members of the other choirs got up and moved closer to the stage, raised their hands, and yelled out. Other audience members stood at their seats, yelled out praise and raised their hands, too.
The songs were not the only entertainment of the evening. Svoboda entertained with stories behind the songs done by the Beatles. Brabham entertained with her recitation of rules for attendees and her introduction of Svoboda. The rhythms and sounds created by the choirs during performances gave depth and design to make a scene. Friends, family and community members supported the choirs and helped to add funds for future scholarships.