Isabelle Demers accompanies Xavier’s Concert Choir for “Music in the Museum”

By: Alex Spindler

On the heels of a multi-dimensional choir season, the Xavier University concert choir recently performed at the Cincinnati Museum Center as part of its Winifred and Emil Barrows “Music in the Museum” series.

One of Xavier’s most esteemed ensemble music groups, the concert choir, under the direction of Matthew Phelps, joined with acclaimed organist Isabelle Demers to create a night of music and rapture.

The Cincinnati Museum Center is home to one of the most prestigious and acclaimed symphonic organs, the E.M. Skinner.

Its fame and prestige lends itself to the concert choir’s reputation for eclectic performances.

Just last spring, the Xavier concert choir joined forces with the College Conservatory of Music’s Chorale at the University of Cincinnati along with the Cincinnati Children’s Choir to produce Benjamin Britten’s “Spring Symphony” – a modern, yet rustic piece about the birth of spring from the bitterness of winter.

In addition, the choir returned to the ecclesiastical format with a performance of Mozart’s “Grand Mass in C Minor” at the Cathedral Basillica of the Assumption in Covington, KY.

This concert featured works such as the “Evening Hymn” by Gardner, a sacred piece written in 1931 among other liturgical music written specifically for the organ.

Many students found this experience in working with such a well-known organist to be invaluable.

“At first, it was really intimidating to work with Isabelle Demers. After all, she has a Masters and a Ph.D. from the Juilliard School of Music,” sophomore concert choir member Brandon Langjahr said.

“Yet, this performance has put us to a higher standard.

After we lost so many seniors and valuable members from last year, we have really rebuilt and improved.”

The Xavier University concert choir will be performing an Advent-themed concert at Bellarmine chapel on campus.

The concert will most likely occur in early December immediately following Thanksgiving break.

Be on the look-out for other Music and Theatre Department events and concerts happening this year.