Symphony, Choirs, and Requiem, Oh my!

Amber Rak –


Have you ever seen six groups performing on one stage? Would you like to see high schools, colleges, and professional ensembles sing a famous work? If you answered yes to one, both or neither, you should still attend the combined choirs and Jacksonville’s Symphony’s performance of the Requiem! The performance will be on April 30th at 7:30pm in Rammelkamp. The groups that will perform this large work together on one stage are the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, the Symphony Chorale, the Illinois College Concert Choir, the MacMurray Choir, Williamsville High School Choir, and the Laurel United Methodist Church Choir.

To give some history on the piece, Requiem by Gabriel Faure (1845-1924), was composed in 1888 in Paris. This work was composed mostly for “the pleasure of it,” stated by Faure himself, but the death of his father in 1885 and his mother two years after may have helped and/or motivated him to write and finish the first version. The original piece consists of 5 movements: the Introit et Kyrie, Sanctus, Pie Jesu, Agnus Dei, and In Paradisum. However, in the version the choirs and symphony will perform, there are two movements that were added: the Offertoire and the Libera me. Though it may seem like a religious set of works, it is not a complete liturgical piece. Faure himself made personal selections of what texts would be used. He put an importance on the idea of rest and peace, removing the Day of Judgement. The Requiem is a beautiful work, but it comes with its challenges.

That being said, I looked through the music, since I am not a part of the group this semester, and noticed it is a very difficult piece, but rewarding when the hard work pays off. I decided to interview a few IC students from the Concert Choir about how they felt about performing this work and with other groups.

Jessica Sanders, a sophomore, stated, “I have never had the opportunity to perform with so many people at one time. I look forward to being able to add this to the list of incredible experiences choir has given me. I can already tell it is a show you should not miss!”

Squire Prince, a sophomore, said, “I feel honored to be a part of this experience. It’s amazing to sing with other groups because you get the experience of working in a larger group, but also to work with and meet people you do not sing with on a daily basis. Just the piece in general is a honor to perform, just the juxtaposition between grand and minute in the musical texture is genius, that is a pleasure to perform.”

I also interviewed Dr. Abby Musgrove, the director for both the Concert Choir and Symphony Chorale and asked her why everyone should attend this event. She stated, “This is a unique opportunity to see one of the most well-known and loved choral-orchestra works performed by a very large group of musicians.  The work is very approachable, only about 30-40 minutes long, and has many memorable melodies.  It has moments of extreme drama, as well as sections of beautiful serenity. For this combined performance, there will be around 200 musicians on the stage.  Something like this doesn’t happen very often!”

Overall, I do not believe this is a concert worth skipping! Seeing multiple groups perform one giant work is rare, especially in the Jacksonville area. Though the concert is not until April 30th at 7:30pm in Rammelkamp, I would still mark this down on your calendar. If you would like to be a part of this experience, the Symphony Chorale is open to the community! Their rehearsals are Tuesdays at 7:00pm. If you are interested, contact Abby Musgrove via email or stop by her office in McGaw. If you have any other questions or want more information, you can contact me via email or contact any faculty from the music department. This is a concert I would not want to miss!


Amber Rak, from Shorewood, Illinois, is a sophomore majoring in Music Education with a minor in Psychology. Amber is a member of the IC Wind Ensemble and Women’s Chorale. She is a new writer for The Rambler, and the social media head/player for the IC Quidditch Club.


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