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CU Choirs

CU Choirs

Oct 31, 2021

CU Choirs

The Collegiate Chorale and University Men’s and Women’s choruses perform contemporary and historical choral literature for mixed and voice-specific ensembles in several on-campus settings.

From orchestras, bands and choirs to jazz, world music and opera to world-class faculty and guest performances, the CU Boulder College of Music brings hundreds of stunning performances to Boulder audiences throughout the academic year.

Performance date and time

Sunday, Oct. 31, 7:30 p.m. MDT

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Williams: “Let All the World in Every Corner Sing” from Five Mystical Songs; Powell: To Sit and Dream; Garrett: Sing Out, My Soul!; Hairston: Steal Away; Mozart: Kyrie from Missa Brevis in F Major, K192; Quartel: Wide Open Spaces; Ticheli: Earth Song; Smiley: Bring me little water, Silvy; Clemens non Papa: “Introit” from Missa Defunctorum; Bruckner: Locus Iste; Johnson: I’ve Been Buked; Berger: Harvester’s Chorus; Hernandez: Rosas Pandan; Irribarría: Ave Maria; de Laubier/Simonini: La Jeune Fille en Feu from Portrait of a Lady on Fire; Schütz: Cantate Domino; arr. Park: Arirang (Korean Folk Song); Gjeilo: Tundra; Lauridsen: “Lament for Pasiphaë” from Mid-Winter Songs; Rugen: Voyage Prayer; Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Romancero Gitano; Mozart: “Laudate Dominum” from Vesperae solennes de confessore, K. 339; arr. Gibbs: Rock-a My Soul; Mäntyjärvi: “Double, Double, Toil and Trouble” from Four Shakespeare Songs

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Program notes

“Let All the World in Every Corner Sing” from Five Mystical Songs

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

Words by George Herbert

“Let all the world in every corner sing,” also known as Antiphon for baritone soloist, is the final movement of Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs. It was composed for solo baritone, chorus and orchestra between 1907 and 1911. The Herbert poem was written ca. 1632 at a time when Charles I was king of England. His poems are largely religious and reveal his personal struggles.

To Sit and Dream

Rosephanye Powell (b. 1962)

Rosephanye Dunn Powell serves as Professor of Voice at Auburn University. She holds degrees from The Florida State University (DM vocal performance), Westminster Choir College (MM vocal performance and pedagogy) and Alabama State University (BM Education). A highly commissioned composer for professional, university, community, church and secondary school choruses, Powell regularly serves as a conductor for All-State and Honor Choirs around the country.

In her composition, To Sit and Dream, Powell sets a text by Harlem Renaissance jazz poet, playwright and social activist, Langston Hughes.

Note from the composer:

Setting the poetry of the same title by Langston Hughes, this text addresses “our problem world” with the hope that those who dare to dream can “make our world anew”. The composer sought to capture, in concert form, the jazz influences harmonically that were such a part of Hughes’ world. She sought to utilize harmonic colors that could be both “dark” (representing “our problem world”) and “bright” (“our world anew”) dependent upon the listener’s perspective. In her mind, the composer imagined Hughes, in his apartment, in solitude, reading the paper, overwhelmed by the realities of America’s present state, yet daring to dream of a better day. Almost in a state of trance, he makes his way to the busy streets of New York, reaching out his hand to passersby–those of like mind who will join him in being a catalyst for positive change. Many respond positively and joyfully to his invitation and begin to reach out to others. This idea is expressed in the last section of the song as parts enter successively singing, “I reach out my hand to you,” then join in one voice. For a few moments, everyone one reaches out to everyone else in love and peace.  In the final phrase of the song “to sit and dream,” Hughes awakens– the newspaper headlines still before him–and resolves that he may never see such a day, except when he sits and dreams.

Sing Out, My Soul!

Marques Garrett (b. 1984)

Marques L. A. Garrett is an assistant professor of music in choral activities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the Glenn Korff School of Music. His responsibilities include conducting the auditioned Chamber Singers and non-auditioned University Chorale (soprano-alto) as well as teaching graduate choral literature. As a researcher, one of his most valuable contributions to the profession has been his study of non-idiomatic choral music of Black composers. His lectures at state and regional conferences of the American Choral Directors Association and at other local and national venues afford him the opportunity to advocate for this underrepresented area of music.  Composed in 2020, Sing Out, My Soul! is an anthem for the present day. The opening line of the poem by William Henry Davies calls our souls to sing out with joy, offering an antidote to the distractions within our society caused by the persistent torrent of news cycles and incessant use of social media, inevitably causing heightened anxieties and comparisons of one’s internal life to the external illusion of another’s. Davies’ text reminds both the singer and the listener that authentic joy comes from deep within and that striving to develop a content mind will far supersede any measure of material wealth.

Steal Away

Jester Hairston (1901-2000)

Jester Hairston was one of the preeminent arrangers of African American spirituals in the twentieth century, in addition to being a renowned historian on the genre. Throughout his career, he brought an awareness of the African American spiritual to many audiences, conducted choirs and arranged spirituals for Hollywood films and popular mainstream music groups. In Steal Away, Hairston expresses the complex interaction of sorrow and hope, characteristic of spirituals, through stark shifts in dynamic, tempo and texture, all the while coloring the sound with thick, chromatic, Gospel-tinged harmony.

—Program note by Dan Wessler

Kyrie from Missa Brevis in F Major, K192

W.A. Mozart (1756-1791)

Missa brevis (“brief mass”) is a term that can define a number of different types of mass settings, depending upon country and time period. This use of the term specifically refers to the short, efficient mass settings composed by Mozart early in his career, whilst serving as court musician in Salzburg under Prince-Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo. Colloredo preferred shorter worship services, and expected brevity from the mass settings Mozart provided for use in said services. As a result, Mozart composed several masses of the missa brevis type, each one’s duration amounting to less than 30 minutes of music. This Kyrie movement comes from his F Major setting, composed in 1774, when he was eighteen years old. It features playful rhythmic and melodic figures, transparent textures, and light interplay between the choral voices.

—Program note by Dan Wessler

Wide Open Spaces

Sarah Quartel (b. 1982)

Canadian composer and educator Sarah Quartel is known for her engaging and transformative repertoire. Her compositions have been featured in numerous concerts, commercial recordings and radio broadcasts internationally. As a music educator, she continues to work as a clinician, conductor and music educator.

While it premiered at the 2015 National ACDA conference, Wide Open Spaces is another work with a message that resonates deeply in today’s world as we struggle to emerge from a global pandemic. Written by the composer, the text of the piece reflects on the journeys and adventures to be found in the wide open spaces within ourselves (an opportunity magnified by pandemic isolation) and in the world around us (an exploration that became restricted through quarantine). The composition itself paints an expansive texture with regard to harmonic structures, melodies, and meter and is a celebration of the journeys we experience both within and outside of ourselves.

Earth Song

Frank Ticheli (b. 1958)

Frank Ticheli’s music has been described as “optimistic and thoughtful” (Los Angeles Times). Ticheli is on the faculty of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, where he is Professor of Composition. The musical material for Earth Song first appeared in Ticheli’s work, Sanctuary for wind ensemble, and as his compositional process unfolded, the composer recognized that the musical material was incredibly well-suited for voices. At the time, Earth Song and its text (also written by Ticheli) became the composer’s response to the Iraq war; he presents an anti-war and anti-violence message–––a cry and prayer for peace. Since that time, Earth Song has become an anthem for the present day as we endure the effects of climate change. In particular, the piece has gained recognition and popularity in 2020 and 2021, with the increased effects of global warming and particularly, forest fires.

Bring me little water, Silvy

Moira Smiley (b. 1977)

American folk artist Huddie William Ledbetter, known as Lead Belly, first popularized the song Bring me little water, Silvy in 1936. It is unclear whether he wrote it himself or discovered and adapted it, as he was known for both. The song sets the scene of a hot day while the narrator, possibly pausing his work in the field, calls to Silvy to bring water. The shape of the melody lends itself easily to a call, which may have indeed been the origin of the song.

Moira Smiley is an American folk artist, composer, chorister and creative type. She travels the world with her banjo, Hazel, gathering folk songs as she goes and teaching them to others to keep the world’s song alive.

—Program note by Jessie Flasschoen Campbell

“Introit” from Missa Defunctorum

Jacob Clemens non Papa (c.1510-1555)

Jacob Clemens was a composer born in the Netherlands who spent most of his life in Flanders, following in the footsteps as Renaissance giants Jaqcues Arcadelt and Adrian Willaert. The origin of the nickname Non Papa, “not the Pope” is uncertain, but it has been used to identify him for centuries. An incredibly prolific composer of madrigals, chansons, masses, motets, and magnificats, Clemens was widely respected and popular during his lifetime. The Missa Defunctorum, or Requiem Mass displays an artful combination of variety and continuity. The ascending melody of the Introit, begun by the soprano voice and imitated in all others, gently buoys the listener to a place of peace.

—Program note by Jessie Flasschoen Campbell

Locus Iste

Anton Bruckner (1824-1896)

Anton Bruckner was an Austrian composer, organist ant theorist who was well known for his symphonic, Mass and motet compositions. Locus Iste explores chromatic elements and lush harmonies In one of Bruckner’s most popular motets. Composed for the dedication of a new cathedral in the year 1869, the text “ this place was made by God” builds to climax on text that translates to “this Holy place”. An expansive dynamic range complements the beautiful chordal writing he employs in this choral classic.

I’ve Been Buked

Hall Johnson (1888-1970)

Hall Johnson was an African American composer who sought to elevate  the African American spiritual to an art form, comparable in musical sophistication to the music of Europe. This arrangement chronicles the the life of the enslaved African American peoples as they lamented the scorn with which they had been met. Through all of this, they refused to relinquish the one thing that provided a sense of hope for a better future, their religion.

Harvester’s Chorus

Jean Berger (1909-2002)

Lilting rhythms and a simple flowing melody sit at the root of this beautiful composition by German-born, American composer Jean Berger. This text set by Berger transports us to the British pastoral scene as townspeople sow their  harvest fruit in earnest. Jean Berger served as a member of the music faculty here at CU from 1961-1968 and has an extensive output of mainly choral works. His compositions combine elements of European folk with American melody and rhythms.

Rosas Pandan

George Hernandez (b. 1956)

Rosas Pandan is a folk song from the Visayan region of the Philippines. It describes a festival of dancing and celebration in which a mysterious and beautiful woman from the mountain—is she a villager? Is she a goddess?—appears and captivates the hearts of all. The alto, tenor and bass lines mimic the stringed instruments often used to accompany music. but the phrase “tig-a-ding tig-a-ding” also represents the pounding heartbeats of the villagers in the dance. George Hernandez artfully arranged this exciting work for unaccompanied voices. —Program note by Jessie Flasschoen Campbell

Ave Maria

Francisco Ibáñez Irribarría (b. 1951)

Composer, Francisco Ibáñez Irribarría is from Álava, one of three provinces located in the Basque Region of northern Spain. His setting of the familiar age-old Ave Maria text embraces a lush, fairly unpredictable, and beautifully-crafted harmonic language, ensuring this setting of the text is not only unique, but exquisite.

La Jeune Fille en Feu from Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Jean-Baptiste de Laubier and Arthur Simonini

Portrait of a Lady on Fire, an award-winning 2019 Romance/ Drama film by writer and director Céline Sciamma, is a love story about a painter and her subject, set on a remote island off the coast of France in the 18th century. La Jeune Fille en Feu is about transcending the people and things that hold you down. The liberating qualities of this musical selection are magnified by its placement at the film’s halfway point; up until then, there is no soundtrack (or music of significance), and musical sound is otherwise used sparingly throughout the film. The piece starts with voices producing what sounds like the iconic THX swell or ‘deep note’—an audio trademark of the film industry from the 1980’s—and then moves into a series of chants of the text.

Cantate Domino

Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672)

Cantate Domino is one of the most famous motets among Cantiones Sacre, a collection of motets set to Latin texts. Heinrich Schütz is one of the most significant composers of the early German Baroque era, and his music was almost exclusively composed for use in the church. Schütz uses an imitative structure from single words and repeats entire phrases that allow listeners to easily follow the song. The use of word-painting is typical of the early Baroque period. Schütz exceptionally employs the text painting manner particularly in melismatic passages sung by three voices to emphasize the meaningful words like Salvavit meaning of salvation. This motet for three voices (a capella) was arranged by Nancy Grundahl, a conductor, composer and voice teacher. This edition was transposed up a major third for comfortable range in a treble choir.

Arirang (Korean Folk Song)

arr. Shin-Hwa Park

Arirang is the most famous Korean traditional song and the word “Arirang” means literally rolling hills. The song is arranged by Shin-Hwa Park, who graduated from the choral conducting program at the University of Colorado. He is also a professor in the school of music at the Ewha Women’s University, South Korea. The arrangement is set for treble voices unaccompanied and is characterized by plaintive tunes, pentatonic melodic scale typical of Korean traditional music, and profound expressive mood.


Ola Gjeilo (b. 1978)

Ola Gjeilo was born in Norway and moved to the United States in 2001 to begin his composition studies at the Juilliard School in New York City. He has, since then, enjoyed a bi-coastal career as a composer and pianist. His piano improvisations over his own published choral pieces have become a trademark of his collaborations across the world. American influences have shaped the composer’s distinctive soundworld, developing a style that is often described as cinematic with a lush, harmonious sound.

Note from the composer:

The lyrics for Tundra were written by Charles Anthony Silvestri, specifically for this work. I asked Tony to write a text based on the title, and some photos of a part of my native Norway that is very dear to me; the Hardangervidda mountain plateau. It’s pretty close to where my father grew up, a ski resort town called Geilo, in the mountains between Oslo and Bergen. This area is quite barren, and intensely beautiful. It is easy to feel that you are treading on sacred land, which Tony so wonderfully expresses in his text:

“Lament for Pasiphaë” from Mid-Winter Songs

Morten Lauridsen (b. 1943)

Poem by Robert Graves

Note from the composer:

“In reading Graves, I became very much taken with the richness, elegance, and extraordinary beauty of his poetry and his insights regarding the human experience. Five diverse poems with a common ‘winter’ motif (a particular favorite of mine, rich in paradoxical symbolism of dying/rejuvenation, light/darkness, sleeping/waking) suggested a cohesive cycle and led to the composition of Mid-Winter Songs.” Quoted from 1998 A Study of the Influence of Text in Morten Lauridsen’s Mid-Winter Songs by Margaret Sue Hulley, Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College.

Voyage Prayer

Kira Zeeman Rugen

“At the heart of this motet Voyage Prayer is a humble plea for assistance during our living journey. On our earthly voyage we encounter heavenly vistas, diverse ideas, and deep hope. However, we also face tempests, storms and unseen dangers. Our human experience is filled with love and joy, but also pain and suffering.”—Program note by Kira Zeeman Rugen

Romancero Gitano

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968)

This evening, Chamber Singers presents two movements from Tedesco’s Romancero Gitano by Italian composer, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. The poems come from Federico García Lorca’s literary work with same title; this is a flamenco composition for chorus and guitar, which uses extended metaphors as social commentary on the oppressed life of the Roma population in southern Spain. Tedesco became acquainted with Lorca’s work through their mutual friend and composer, Manuel de Falla. Lorca knew de Falla from the Granada Cante Jondo Festival and Tedesco became friends with him after publishing an essay on his compositions. In our first movement, as if it is a “shriek,” the choir begins with the terrifying El puñal (the dagger) motive; as if extended from the Roma’s violent history, the choir pleads, “No! No, do not stab me with it.” Crótalo or “rattler” (symbolizing both a castanet and snake) is an onomatopoeic title with its own musical motive. Its symmetrical structure creates a sonorous quality emanating from this movement’s center. To this day, the Roma continue to endure an immeasurable amount of persecution; our rehearsals were used to learn about their culture’s past and present to elicit a performance that creates awareness. 

“Laudate Dominum” from Vesperae solennes de confessore, K. 339

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Laudate Dominum is scored for a soprano soloist, chorus, and strings. Tonight, we perform this fifth movement from Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de confessore with piano. Mozart has two Vesperae solennes: de dominica (1779) and de confessore (1780). Both multimovement works use exuberant Psalm settings for their first three movements. Their fourth movement harkens back to the early Baroque stile antico style, and their sixth movements are boisterous settings of the Magnificat. Laudate Dominum is the fifth movement in both works. De dominica’s is a melissmatic soprano solo and de confessore’s is far more lyrical with a choral interlude. As you’ll hear this evening, each movement concludes with the Gloria Patri text that recapitulates the opening section.

Rock-a My Soul

arr. Stacey V. Gibbs (b. 1964)

Rock-a My Soul was first documented by scholar William Francis Allen in his 1867 collaborative collection Slave Songs of the United States—songs gathered by historians Charles Pickard Ware, Lucy McKim Garrison and Williams Francis Allen during and after the Civil War—is the earliest published record of spirituals. Notably recorded by the Golden Gate Jubilee Singers in 1938 (who later became the still active Golden Gate Quartet), this spiritual speaks to the longing for a place of safety and rest.

“Double, Double, Toil and Trouble” from Four Shakespeare Songs

Jakko Mäntyjärvi (b. 1984)

Text by William Shakespeare

This witches’ incantation conjures foreknowledge for Macbeth, of whether or not he will be struck with a lethal blow in battle in his brutal quest to become King of Scotland. Shakespeare penned the tragedy Macbeth (often referred to as “The Scottish Play”) during the reign of King James I, sourced from history chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland. As to this setting of “Double, Double Toil and Trouble,” Finnish composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi’s works are complex and historically influenced. He considers himself an eclectic traditionalist, and has composed choral commissions for the Tapiola Chamber Choir, Cork International Choral Festival, Chanticleer and The King’s Singers.

This event will be available both in-person and via livestream. We advise arriving early to secure a seat. Seating is general admission on a first-come-first-served basis.

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