MAUHS singers follow 18th century classical Mass with 1980s pop


BENNINGTON - Mount Anthony Union High School presented its Spring Choir Concert on Thursday, with a performance than ran the gamut from religious music of the early 1700's to pop hits from the 1980's. Led by director Lynn Sweet, the choir began with Giovanni Battisti Pergolesi's "The Magnificat." The song, sung entirely in Latin, was accompanied by a seven-member string group, with Katianna Nardone, Keara Sternberg, Zoey Haar, Hannah Patterson, Rowan Schatz, and Ellen Sager on violin, and Madeline Coons on bass. Sweet and Emily Ranttila also accompanied the choir on keyboards. "It is a large work in six movements," said Sweet, "and it is in Latin. The students have worked very hard on this."

Pergolesi was an Italian composer, born in 1710, who is known for being one of the earliest innovators of opera buffa, or comic opera. While he is perhaps most known for his operas, including "Il prigionier superbo," "Lo frate 'nnamorato," and "L'Olimpiade," Pergolesi also wrote religious music, including "The Magnificat" and "Stabat Mater." Pergolesi died in 1736, at only 26 years of age, of tuberculosis.

"The Magnificat" has six movements, "Magnificat, Et Misericordia, Deposuit Potentes, Suscepit Israel, Sicut Locutus Est, and Sicut Erat in Principio, and lasts about 15 minutes. Although Sweet told the audience that the group would be recording the performance, and that listeners should remain in their seats for the duration and silence their phones, many did not heed the instructions. One ringtone, the sound of a mooing cow, sounded loudly throughout the auditorium several times during the performance.

After the conclusion of the piece, there was a brief intermission, during which time the choir changed into clothing that was more appropriate for the second half of the performance: "Throwback Thursday: Music of the 80's." Even Sweet changed into a bright pink shirt, although she admitted that it wasn't really her style. Students outfits ranged from tie-dyed T-shirts to brightly colored leggings. Images of the 80's flashed across two large screens on either side of the stage, including rocket launches, musical artists, and television shows. A large portion of the audience burst into applause when Ronald Reagan appeared on the screen.

In between songs, a student dressed as game show host Alex Trebek asked fellow students Jeopardy! questions about the 80's. Music included Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger," Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home," Mr. Mister's "Kyrie," Journey's "Faithfully" and "Don't Stop Believin'," REO Speedwagon's "I Can't Fight this Feeling," Corona's "Rhythm of the Night," "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" from the 1987 film, "Dirty Dancing," and "We are the World," the charity song written in 1985 by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie.

"Another successful year of musical performance is coming to a close," wrote Mount Anthony Music Parents Association chairwoman Karen Ranttila in the program, "We greatly appreciate all of the support that our community has given us."

The MAUHS symphonic and jazz band spring concert will be on Thursday May 29. The symphonic band will feature Robert Russell Bennett's "Suite of Old American Dances" as well as music from "Pirates of the Caribbean," as well as the "Halo" video game franchise and a selection of music from "Civilization IV."

The jazz band will perform Toto's "Africa," Earth Wind and Fire's "September," Paul Baker's "Boogie Lou," and Herbie Hancock's "Chameleon."

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB


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