PHOTOS: 2022 Fall Concert showcases FHSU choirs, vocal solos, instrumentalists

PHOTOS BY CAITLIN LEIKER

FHSU’s Fall Choral Concert was held on Friday, Oct. 21st in Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center, directed by Dr. Terry Crull and accompanied by Pam McGowne. The Fort Hays Singers and Concert Choir opened with the namesake of the event, “Take Me to the Water,” arranged by Rollo Dilworth.
Crull conducts the Smoky Hill Chorale on “Old Joe Has Gone Fishing,” from the opera Peter Grimes by Benjamin Britten. The first song, “Take Me to the Water,” is what originally inspired Crull to make the concert water-themed. Each song incorporated the mention of water in the lyrics or translated the feelings of water through sound.
Percussion professor Ryan Pearson accompanies the Smoky Hill Chorale on the vibraphone, setting the smooth, ringing atmosphere for ”Crescent Noon” by Richard Carpenter.
During the Fort Hays Singers’ set, tenor Luis Valencia Zamora sings a verse of “Flow Gently, Sweet Afton,” a Scottish folk song arranged by Robert Shaw. Each member of the tenor section– Ryan Will, Eric Adams, Tyson Dinkel, Dawson Whalen, and Hayden Sillmon –sang a solo in the piece.
Sillmon sings through his solo parts in “Trickle, Trickle.” The choir performed in the style of the vocal jazz group, The Manhattan Transfer. The song was written by Clarence Bassett and arranged by Steve Zegree.
Whalen also traded improvised saxophone solos with Sillmon during “Trickle, Trickle”– “I just deciphered the chords, and then I went onstage,” Whalen said. He loved that this year’s concert included instrumentalists to compliment the choir and vocal soloists. “I think it just adds so much more color…Sometimes, when you’re sitting through a concert, it can get a little tired, but when you add those extra soloists, it adds energy and makes the audience feel so much more connected.”
During the Concert Choir set, mezzo-soprano Isabella Wilds performs her solo in “Song for the Mira,” a folk tune from Nova Scotia, written by Allister MacGillivray and arranged by Stuart Calvert. Solo verses were also sung by baritone Isaiah Stierlen and contralto Mackenzie Bowers.
Katy Walters serenades with oboe interludes alongside Concert Choir in “Song for the Mira.” Walters, who is also a mezzo-soprano in Fort Hays Singers, said that the addition of instrumental solos made for a more inclusive program. “We get to bring in some of our instrumentalist friends who don’t normally get to rehearse with us, and then our audience gets a treat that they don’t normally see,” Walters said. “At the high school level, you usually don’t have extra instruments, but at the college level, we can do that.”
Fort Hays Singers and Concert Choir take the stage to perform “Take Me to the Water” once more, this time adding Isaac Reed on electric organ, Tabor Rucker on drums, and brass players to send off the audience (Dawson McNeal, trumpet; Ernesto Hernandez, alto saxophone; Whalen, tenor saxophone, and Casey Bowers, baritone saxophone).

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