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Chamber Singers embrace choral music from Broadway

The group performed a unique and energetic program of Broadway tunes

<p>Featuring a unique selection of choral music from Broadway musicals, the group took the stage with energy as they began their dynamic fall 2021 concert.</p>

Featuring a unique selection of choral music from Broadway musicals, the group took the stage with energy as they began their dynamic fall 2021 concert.

The Chamber Singers had their first in-person performance in two years on Friday in Old Cabell Hall. Featuring a unique selection of choral music from Broadway musicals, the group took the stage with energy as they began their dynamic fall 2021 concert.

The Chamber Singers began with a performance of “Our Time” from the musical "Merrily We Roll Along." It was a captivating and dynamic show opener as the Singers moved across the stage, turning their heads to each other and to the audience to go along with the lyrics of the piece. 

The lights on stage suddenly turned blue as the Chamber Singers transitioned into their next piece, “At the End of the Day” from "Les Misérables." The Chamber Singers performed with intensity and bite as they sang this piece about the 19th century French working class.  

The Singers ended their opening selection of pieces with “Another Day of Sun” from the opening of the musical "La La Land." Performing with energy and vigor, the Chamber Singers showcased their talent as a group as they sang about the hopes and dreams to make it big in Hollywood. Accompanist Deke Polifka shined on this piece as he performed riffs and slides on the piano, adding to the upbeat nature of the piece. 

After the three opening pieces, Chamber Singers Director Michael Slon took the stage to welcome the audience in Old Cabell Hall. He spoke about how this was the first Chamber Singers concert in two years and noted the unusual program of Broadway for tonight. First-year College student Jack Siegel spoke about the theme for the performance.

“The Chamber Singers normally [perform] very specific, very niche ensemble music,” Siegel said. “This semester we took things a little broader to [Michael Slon’s] expertise of Broadway music. He did his dissertation on [Leonard] Bernstein, and so he knows the thick and thin of Broadway … We got the chance to work on some really amazing choral Broadway music and work with one of Professor Slon’s friends who is a New York director, so he staged us and he came in for a couple of rehearsals to put us in some awesome arrangements for multiple songs.”

A highlight of the performance was the student performances that followed. Third-year College student Eleanor Jacobson sang “Soprano-land” by Andrew Byrne in an entertaining and charismatic performance as she acted to the lyrics, getting some chuckles from the audience. Following “Soprano-land” was “He Knew That,” an emotionally evocative ballad sung by fourth-year College student Julia Preston. Slon described this piece as being “hot off the press,” as it comes from fourth-year College student Vaheed Talebian’s original musical "Piece by Peace," which also premiered this weekend in collaboration with the Virginia Players and the U.Va. department of drama. 

Following a selection from “The Sound of Music” and some more captivating student solos, all of the Chamber Singers performed “All the Things You Are” from "Very Warm for May." It was a stunning performance that once again highlighted Polifka’s skills as an accompanist as he performed a virtuosic piano solo. Siegel spoke about his experience singing the piece.

“I really enjoyed ‘All the Things You Are,’” Siegel said. “It is such an emotional and romantic piece, not to mention [it has] a lot of low notes for the basses. But I really do think it's beautiful, and I love singing it every time.”

The Chamber Singers then moved into the closing pieces of their program — “Beautiful City,” “Sunday” and “You Will Be Found.”

“You Will Be Found” from "Dear Evan Hansen" was a stunning closer that had a wonderful message of hope and belonging — one that the Chamber Singers embodied through their warm singing and connection to one another during the piece. This song was a highlight of the performance and resulted in a standing ovation from the audience — it was the perfect way to end a wonderful show.

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