Monday, December 6, 2010

A weekend of concerts - on and off campus

This weekend I spent most of my time (which should have been focused on final exam preparation) with multiple music concerts. Friday was the Fall Choir Concert in which all of the choral groups on campus sang - Macalester Concert Choir and Highland Camarata, as well as a select female ensemble. Off-Kilter, an a cappella group I sing in, also performed and we sang a medley of two Beatles classics - "I Will" and "Blackbird." The repertoire for the entire concert ranged from gospel, renaissance, traditional hymns, contemporary selections (just to name a few) and included a world premiere performance of a piece written by our very own Randy Bauer, a Macalester professor! The concert was a huge success and served as a great finale to our beloved Janet Wallace Fine Arts Complex that will undergo a complete renovation starting in a couple weeks!

Although creating choral music is a huge part of my life at Macalester (and what the majority of my blogging has been dedicated to thus far) I also had the chance to get tickets the to infamous concert venue, First Ave, in downtown Minneapolis and see someone else (Mason Jennings) make music for my listening pleasure.

Mason Jennings, a pop-folk singer-songwriter, is perhaps best known for his Bob Dylan's covers on the soundtrack of the movie "I'm Not There" which was released in 2007. However, Mason has been writing and performing music since the late 90's. It was a phenomenal concert and folk is definitively the best genre of music with its calm melodies and fusion of personal narrative with social awareness. Mason was amazing and his opener, Sarah Harmer, was another exemplary embodiment of folk music. I had never heard of her before but I was so impressed by her sound that I actually bought one of her albums on the spot! I usually go through a process of researching an artist and reading reviews and whatnot before I buy an album, but she was just SO GOOD!!

Music events are prevalent on and around the Macalester campus. There are many choirs, orchestras, wind ensembles, a cappella groups, bands and student singer-songwriters at Macalester and the frequency of concerts and performances mirrors that. Access to the phenomenal music scene at Mac and in the Twin Cities is easy and (worst-case scenario) a half-hour bus ride from campus. Overall, I definitely fulfilled my music quota this weekend and can now check procrastinating off my list of things to do and focus my time on upcoming exams, papers, presentations and group projects. Or I could just listen to Sarah Harmer's album again...