Three Iowa Choirs Singing Of Reassurance, Love and Listening

Apr 6, 2020

With concert-giving on hiatus, here's another sampling of the rich variety of choral music in our state.

This week's batch of videos includes a motet from Shakespeare's day that offers reassurance, a new work by a Des Moines composer that affirms simple love, and a song by a Des Moines gospel choir that reminds us to listen for the voices of those in need.

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The Iowa State Singers - 'I Will Not Leave You Comfortless' by William Byrd

In just two minutes, this motet by the great English composer William Byrd conveys sorrow, comfort, and a hint of joy. Its gentle depths come through beautifully in this performance by the Iowa State Singers led by James Rodde. 

The Luther College Nordic Choir - 'When We Love' by Elaine Hagenberg

Des Moines composer Elaine Hagenberg and Nebraska poet Charles Silvestri collaborated on this piece for the 2019 farewell concert of Drake choral director Aimee Beckmann-Collier. What a collaboration it turned out to be! In setting Silvestri's text, Hagenberg responds not only to its affirmation of the power of love but also to the sounds of its words.

Since the work's premiere at the farewell concert (and a beautiful first recording by Beckmann-Collier), the piece has been taken up by other groups, including this 2020 performance by another renowned Iowa choir, the Luther College Nordic Choir conducted by Andrew Last.

Bridges 2 Harmony - 'Can You Hear?' by Victor Alexeeff

The gospel choir from Theodore Roosevelt High School in Des Moines performs a song written to benefit World of Children, an international charity dedicated to the needs of “the world’s most vulnerable children.”

The soloists are (in order) Brent Crumpton, Janessa Coleman, and Adrienne Brown, who wrote the words for her solo. James McNear is the director.