Harvest Choirfest returns to BYU-Idaho

The annual Harvest Choirfest has returned with new choirs, directors and incredible pieces of music.

“Choirfest is a concert showcasing the top choral ensembles on campus,” said Jacob Fowkes, a senior studying music.

It will take place Friday, Oct. 23 from 6-7:30 p.m. and 8:30-10 p.m., according to BYU-Idaho’s music concert calendar.

The Women’s Choir, Vocal Union, University Choir and Women’s Glee will perform different musical styles such as jazz, classical, hymns, spirituals and choral standards in the Ruth H. Barrus Concert Hall located in the Eliza R. Snow Center for the Performing Arts Center.

Fowkes said there are special additions to this year’s performance.

He said that this year they are premiering their new Concert Choir and are prepared to deliver an amazing show.

“The men and women’s choir are performing ‘Hallelujah’ from The Mount of Olives and Beethoven,” said Randall Kempton, the director of choral activities.

He said that this semester, these choirs are combined under new choral director, Dr. Rebecca Lord, from UCLA.

“One of the songs we are doing is a commissioned piece for BYU-Idaho collegiate singers,” said Preston Bowthorpe, a senior studying music education composite. “We are singing an original song called ‘Gethsemane Prayer.’”

Scott Tilley, a senior studying music education composite, said that the Collegiate Singers will perform a couple pieces from “Handel’s Messiah.” He said they will also perform a piece called ‘Stars,’ in which the singers are accompanied by symbolic wine glasses.

He said that it will be extraordinary.

“These students work very hard to prepare the music and provide quality entertainment to everyone in attendance,” Fowkes said.

He said it takes skill and fine-tuning to uphold the Choirfest tradition which has existed since Ricks College. Performers begin preparation at the start of school and continue to practice in and out of class for many hours each day.

Tilley said that the singers practice their part on their own and then rehearse as a whole to unify their sound in order to create a masterpiece.

“It is a lot of time,” Bowthorpe said. “But I mean, it’s what we love; it’s what we do.”

Bowthorpe said practicing now prepares the singers for when they will venture off to become instructors.

However, students and faculty said that there is much more to gain for performers and audiences.

Music is an absolutely necessary part of being human, according to Music Empowers a website for an organization offering music instruction.

“One of our goals is to invite others to feel the Spirit,” Tilley said. “We hope that through our performances people can be able to feel something that motivates them to go out and either be better, or serve, or love or give back.”

Bowthorpe said that he is excited to testify as a member of a missionary choir.

Kempton said that the music is carefully chosen for the benefit of those listening.

“We choose music that we feel will inspire the students musically, spiritually, mentally, that will build them as musicians and build them as people,” Kempton said.

He said that the directors try to choose a combination of music that allows the audience to feel the Spirit and explore different eras of music which will enlighten the audience about the nature of humanity.

“We try to build concert programs that will teach, educate, enlighten and uplift our students and audiences,” Kempton said.

Fowkes said that everyone who attends Harvest Choirfest can gain something from it. He said it is always the best part of the year.

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