BVU Concert Choir performs spring concert, “Senses”


Poster by Daniel Walker

Allyssa Ertz, Arts and Life Editor

Buena Vista University (BVU) Concert Choir performed a colorful Spring Concert on Monday, May 7 at 7:30 P.M. in Schaller Chapel. Dr. Merrin Guice, Director of Vocal Studies, elegantly directed the show, accurately titled “Senses.” This unique event showcased many different talents with audio, visual, and performance components.

Solos and group pieces were evenly distributed throughout the program. The choir captured the audience’s attention with expressive facials. Viewers were unable to keep their eyes off of the performance.

David Walker, Assistant Professor of Theatre and Coordinator of Technical Production and Staging, organized the lighting for this show, and Miranda Pollock, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, created the graphics and visuals under the direction of Dr. Guice.

Pollock was originally provided with the lists of songs and links for listening. Then, she collaborated with Dr. Guice to truly understand the meaning behind each song and how they should be portrayed. This essential piece of the puzzle contributed to the concept of our five senses and providing that experience for the audience.

“Once I have a concept, I think about odd and tone and how to best convey the sorrow, fear, or beauty that is in the voice of the song. I listen to the song repeatedly and with the concept in mind, start to paint a picture in my head – a picture that contains colors, shapes, movement, and rhythm,” explained Pollock.

Pollock used the way the music made her feel to inspire her in what she made to illustrate each song. She asked herself what personal loss and suffering to her felt like. An empty cradle, an added window looking into the night, and a curtain gracefully billowing in the wind were used to showcase loss for one song based upon Pollock’s own inspiration.

Pollock animated her show using Adobe Illustrator. The time spent on her artwork varies depending on the complexity of the piece. For example, one piece took fourteen hours, and another took twenty-eight in total.

Visuals were an important aspect of the show to make “Senses” a reality. In one number, two dancers were used to illustrate a boy who wanted a girl back desperately.

BVU sophomore Daniel Walker, passionately sang Leon Russell’s hit, “My Song For You,” as freshman Justin Forkpa, danced with senior Stephanie Grigsby, to show the pain of regrets in relationships.

Walker has been working on this song since last semester. The song’s intended debut was scheduled for the Lewis and Clark NATS Vocal Competition in Sioux City earlier this month; however, Dr. Guice asked Walker to perform it at the concert because of the amount of work he had put into his music.

“In rehearsal, I got to like turn and look at them, but then, when I was performing, I was like it would be weird if I was just standing there by myself, so I said, ‘Why don’t I turn and look at them and act like I am a part of the dance?’ So yeah, me and Justin were having a little battle for Stephanie,” said Walker.

Walker’s favorite part of performing is seeing the finished product after spending so much time working on it. It is extremely satisfying to see how his hard work contributes to the overall quality of the final performance, according to Walker.

“The dancers were amazing and gave me something to emote to,” said Walker.

A french horn concert originally inspired this performance, according to Dr. Guice. The  performance had additional media accompanying the musicians, and she had the idea to collaborate with the theatre and graphic design departments to create a unique musical experience for the audience.

The students truly brought passion that Monday night – which made the performance the colorful event that it was, according to Dr. Guice.

Yes, the graphics were full of bright colors, but the performers brought the true radiant intensity to the night.

Even though vocal ability is obviously an important part of a choir concert, this isn’t Dr. Guice’s main focus:

“They are so talented and they bring heart. Not just vocal ability, but heart,” said Guice.