Going back to musical origins with the 2015 Choral Showcase Invitational

It was quiet, and suddenly voices rang out in the Church of the Covenant. The conductor led the opening act, the Rocky River High School’s Treble Ensemble, with ease.

The audience, filled with parents of the high school students and Case Western Reserve University students, clapped and cheered as the high school’s talented Treble Ensemble, an all girl’s group, and Chorale, a mixed group, sang. It is the Choral Showcase Invitational Concert on Feb. 20, and the night had just begun.

Next, CWRU’s own Men’s Glee Club performed. This group is actually the oldest student organization on campus, founded in 1897 at the Case Institute of Technology. They performed their iconic song “Case Men’s Glee,” which made the audience laugh and smile. Another audience favorite was “Star Wars.” Case Men’s Glee managed to have fun and be entertaining throughout the song and even had audience members trying to hold back their laughter.

Following that group, the mixed group called University Singers sang beautiful authentic songs. University Singers is an open (coed) chorus that can be taken as a class or for zero credits as an extracurricular. The group is laid back since it requires no audition and no previous singing skill; all singers need to do in order to join is match a pitch.

One song that the lively group sang, “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” was an iconic song supposedly sung originally by an Underground Railroad operative to give instructions to the escaping slaves. In the song, the drinking gourd actually signifies the big dipper (or the north).

Next up was Dhamakapella, an a cappella group known for their medley of popular pop songs and popular Bollywood songs. They showed their talents and unique style of a cappella through “Thousand Miles,” “Chandelier” and “Set Fire to the Rain.” The group’s brilliant medley of the two diverse cultures filled the church with something different but enjoyable for all ages to hear.

Probably one of the more popular groups of the showcase was Case Concert Choir. The large group was able to sing beautifully, in sync and bring audience members onto their feet. At the end of their two songs, “Light of a Clear Blue Morning” and “In a Railroad Station,” audience members leapt to their feet and clapped loudly for the wonderfully talented singers.

Lastly, Dr. Matthew Garrett told the audience that they were in for a treat. Suddenly, all the choral groups and ensembles got onto the stage and began to sing. With everyone together, and almost spilling off the stage, audience members were reminded of the diversity that was prevalent throughout the showcase. They were brought back to their origins by the folksy American music heard from every inch of the church; it was truly sensational. With the last note that the Combined Choral Showcase Ensemble sang, the audience members held their applause for around 30 seconds, before they began to clap and cheer for the awe-filled performance they had just witnessed.

The smiles on the faces of everyone leaving the church showed that the audience enjoyed themselves that night.

Overall, the showcases attracted people of all ages—young and old—to fill the beautiful church.

“The event went smoothly, given all the groups,” noted CWRU’s Music Department’s Concert & Events team member, Jack Boatman.