Southwestern Michigan College’s fall choir concert Oct. 21 features a collaboration with St. Joseph and Coloma high schools and the Andrew Fisher Quartet, composed of SMC alumni.
Thursday’s 7:30 p.m. performance of Robert Ray’s 1979 “Gospel Mass” in the theatre of the Dale A. Lyons Building on SMC’s Dowagiac campus is free to the public.
“I selected ‘Gospel Mass’ because of its significant cultural impact as a unique liturgical work,” Professor David Carew, SMC Director of Choral Activities, said. “It’s been a tough time for choral programs that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 in terms of retention and prevalent restrictions on singing in general. This is the third or fourth time I’ve conducted the work. It’s very accessible to all levels of singers, and I wanted to offer a collaborative opportunity to some of our area high school programs to pool our resources as we rebuild our respective programs. Also, it’s been a while since I’ve worked with Andrew and his crew. It’s always thrilling to work with those guys.”
The lead vocalist’s quartet includes Bruce Anderson on keyboards, Dustin Lowe on bass and Glenn McFarland on drums.
Additionally, Select Voices will sing a medium swing arrangement of “I Only Have Eyes for You,” “Famine Song” arranged by Matthew Culloton and “That Ever I Saw” by Darmon Meader.
“We will also combine forces on a fantastic choral work by Joseph Martin called ‘The Awakening,’ which speaks to music’s enduring power to move the human spirit,” Carew said.
Ray, of St. Louis, wrote “Gospel Mass” for a one-time performance, so it surprised him when setting the words of the Catholic Mass to the rhythm and harmony of African-American music became a seminal work choirs and churches all over the world perform.