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The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

VAPA concert moves audience to tears

Director of Choral Activities Deborah Chandler, Ph.D., led the ULM concert choir and chamber singers through a wondrous performance at Parkview Baptist on Tuesday evening. 

Beginning at 7:30 p.m., Chandler started the choir’s performance with ‘Sing On,’ an intense piece conveying feelings of wonder, hope and curiosity. 

Local artists played a few more pieces, most of them having gone to school with Chandler. She discussed her time in school with Jeffery Ames, Ph.D., one of the composers of a piece played that night.

Two of Ames’ students were in an accident that took their lives and the life of their father in one night. Ames was heartbroken, immediately creating a piece to be sung at all three funerals.

 “The ink was still wet on the page when we originally performed this,” Chandler said. “That’s how quickly [Ames] pulled his piece together. He named it ‘In Remembrance.’”

 During the piece, voices faded from melancholy pleas, leaving a singular French horn blowing; the emptiness of the building captured just how lonely the music felt. 

Members of the audience reached for their tissues. By the time the first minute had gone by, all audience members felt moved by the intense emotion displayed through a few simple notes.

 Freshman vocal music education major Helen “Pidge” Milam discussed how she felt while performing the piece “In Remembrance.”

 “I actually got a bit choked up while singing it because it is such a moving piece,” Milam said. “The story about why and when it was written was really heart-wrenching.”

 Chandler continued to pluck at the audience’s heartstrings, listing every student of hers graduating this spring. She joked with a few about their performances and even went through the list of those who will be performing in “Shrek the Musical.”

Freshman toxicology major Gwendolyn Abadie performed in Bayou la Belle, so she understood the hard work and preparation occurring  behind the scenes. She discussed her opinion on the stunning performance by VAPA and how she felt that Chandler tied everything together.

 “Chandler’s personification of some of the composers respected in this concert made them feel that much more relatable and their stories more real,” Abadie said. “Listening to their pieces performed by such an amazing choir, I couldn’t help but feel so emotionally connected to the pieces and gain a better appreciation for everything.”

Overall, the performance was an emotional hit, leaving people sniffling between claps at the end. 

VAPA quickly played a surprise encore of the last song, and the audience stood to applaud one of the most sentimental and heart-wrenching  performances seen this year.

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