|President's Report||Watson Family Hall||Choral Collaboration||Racial Reconciliation||Year in Review||Academic Programs||Budget Information||Donor Support||Volunteer Leaders||PBA at a Glance|
A fall season of hard work and community collaboration inspires and ‘stretches’ music
performing monumental pieces
Music education major Rebecca Turngren took a deep breath and rose to her feet, looking out over the crowd that had filled Dreyfoos Hall at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. Along with 59 other PBA Oratorio Chorus members, Turngren had joined the combined voices of Masterworks Chorus of the Palm Beaches and the Choral Society of the Palm Beaches to perform in one of the most renowned and challenging pieces of Western music: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.
“It felt like a dream come true,” said Turngren.
As her dream came true in that Dec. 8 performance, music lovers from across the community enjoyed a rare treat. The Beethoven Nine isn’t performed regularly because of the required performing forces, explained Dr. Jason Lester, dean of the School of Music and Fine Arts. It’s a choral symphony needing well over 100 singers.
In the final movement of the piece, the combined chorus rang out, in German, with Ludwig van Beethoven’s exuberant treatment of the poet Friedrich Schiller’s “Ode to Joy.” “Their ensemble vocalism and balanced, jubilant performance, full of choral grandeur, provided the symphony with a suitably joyful finale,” wrote the South Florida Classical Review.
Less than two months later, Turngren and 11 fellow PBA Concert Choir members joined in another ambitious collaborative effort, performing Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot with Palm Beach Opera.
“The Turandot chorus is perhaps the most challenging chorus in all operatic repertoire,” said Lester. The singers had to memorize all their music, in Italian, and they had to learn how to move around on a “raked,” or sloped, stage.
“The preparation was crazy,” said Turngren, “but it was so worth it. It was just gorgeous to be a part of it and listen to professionals (soloists) from Italy and Germany and across the U.S. I learned a lot and it really inspired me to keep going and pursue my passion for performing and for music.”
“Our students participating in a professional production of that magnitude with a regional opera company only escalates their own awareness of what is possible,” said Lester. “It’s sort of like altitude training for athletes. Doing this level of work stretched our students, stretched our program, and in that stretching, I believe that it will increase our potential moving forward.”
Under Lester’s leadership, the School of Music and Fine Arts reached a new level of collaborative community engagement. In addition to performing with Palm Beach Opera, Masterworks Chorus of the Palm Beaches, the Choral Society of the Palm Beaches and Palm Beach Symphony, PBA singers collaborated with the Society of the Four Arts in the fall semester.
In a Dec. 4 performance at the Society’s Walter S. Gubelmann Auditorium, the University’s Pop-Rock Ensemble had the privilege to work with special guest Rob Kapilow, host of NPR’s What Makes it Great. Together they charmed the audience with some of the world’s most beloved holiday music.
Phillip J. Bergmann, head of Music & Film Programming for the Society, told Lester the PBA ensemble went “above-and-beyond anything you promised, and you certainly promised top quality, and professionalism.”
“I will come to you every time we have need to augment or supplement a program,” said Bergmann in a letter to Lester, “and we will create many more opportunities for your wonderful students.”
“Handling their choral duties were the Palm Beach Atlantic University Oratorio Chorus,
the Choral Society of the Palm Beaches and the Masterworks Chorus of the Palm Beaches.
Their ensemble vocalism and balanced, jubilant performance, full of choral grandeur,
provided the symphony with a suitably joyful finale.” -- South Florida Classical Review
Members of PBA’s Concert Choir enjoyed the challenging opportunity to perform in Palm Beach Opera’s production of Turandot. Set in China, the Puccini opera tells the story of the beautiful but cold Princess Turandot.