ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — They rehearsed and they rehearsed some more.
Now an ad hoc choir of about 90 Albuquerque-area singers ages 18 and older will show the public what it learned. The proof will come in a Saturday, May 10 concert at Casa del Rey Church.
Their rehearsals were in a five-session workshop led by clinician Stevie Springer.
“The overall objective of the workshop is to bring to the community a professional musical experience that they would receive in an elite high school or in college,” said Springer, who also is the choir’s director.
The workshop, he said, was an exercise in interpretative expression by using proper diction for the many languages of the songs. Understanding that interpretation is no small challenge, Springer said.
Each workshop participant received a workbook with sheet music, diagrams of the vocal chords and a rehearsal CD with music containing their vocal parts and the instrumental accompaniment, he said.
“I want the audience to hear that the singers have embraced languages and understand the diction and to convey it to the community in a professional manner,” he said.
The choir begins the concert with “O Fortuna,” the well-known opening movement of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana.” It will be sung in Latin. Student percussionists from Albuquerque High School and Del Norte Baptist Church will be accompanists.
Other songs on the program include Claude Debussy’s “Beau Soir,” which will be sung in French, Howard Helvey’s sacred song “O Lux Beatissima,” sung in Latin, and a sacred Swahili song, “O Sifuni Mungu.”
“The Swahili piece talks about singing joyfully with lifted hands to the Lord,” Springer said. “It will be accompanied by African drumming and dancing facilitated by Rujeko Dumbutshena.”
The choir, Springer said, also had to learn a dialectical English to sing the two spirituals on the program – “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho” and “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel.”
Two gospel songs will close the concert. One is Bishop T.D. Jakes’ “Let’s Just Praise the Lord,” which has a phrase that will be sung in German and in Spanish. The other is “Total Praise,” by Richard Smallwood that is accompanied by praise dancers.
“This concert will have broad appeal because of the variety of genres,” Springer said.
This is the first time he’s done this kind of workshop. It came about, he said, because his private studios were full.
And many singers in productions of “The Wiz” and “Roots Revival,” for which he served as music director, wanted to continue studying with him, said Springer, who is also a chef and restaurateur.