By Pat Gainor, Staff Writer
Family Weekend has come and gone, and with it went several performances from all around the Xavier Music Department.
The Xavier Jazz Orchestra held a concert this past Friday at the Music Resource Center, where they were joined by Cincinnati Jazz Hall of Famer Mandy Gaines. Gaines’ collaboration with Xavier is the first major musical collaboration the university has had since the pandemic.
Professor Eric Lechliter, who has been the head of the Xavier Jazz Orchestra since 2017, spoke excitedly about getting to work with Gaines once again.
“I’ve had the honor and the pleasure of working with Mandy many times throughout the past few years. Not only is she a consummate musician, but she’s also a great showwoman. Anytime that she’s on stage, it’s a party,” he said.
“This program has grown a lot in the last six years, and we’re just gonna try and do more and more great things,” Lechliter continued.
Last Saturday, the Xavier Concert Choir took the stage for their second performance of the semester. They performed in Bellarmine Chapel alongside the XU Women’s Chorus, as well as two high school choir programs. Sycamore High School and Kings High School were invited by Xavier to sing songs both from their own repertoire and to join the Xavier choral groups in two combined songs.
This concert was the first time Xavier has been able to invite other programs to join its choir department in over two years.
“It’s a thrill,” Dr. Matthew Swanson, director of the Xavier Concert Choir, said. “Because of the pandemic, we haven’t been able to invite ensembles to perform with us here on campus. And what a pleasure it was to have two high school choirs of this quality and enthusiasm join us tonight.”
Eli Lanham, a senior music education major, said he was excited about the opportunity to join other choir programs.
“Getting to sing with all three of those combined choirs was just truly a blessing and a wonderful experience,” he said.
Xavier Choir performs next on Dec. 9 in Bellarmine Chapel for the “Festival of Lessons and Carols” for the Catholic season of Advent.
These two concerts are not the only recent showings by Xavier performers. Something Rotten! rounded out its run with two sold-out shows over Family Weekend, and both Xavier Singers and the AcaBellas held their first performances of the year on Saturday. Additionally, the Chamber Orchestra performed their fall concert on Monday.
Three more Xavier student groups will take the stage this week. Today, the Xavier Symphonic Wind Ensemble will perform in the GSC Theater, and both Harmon-X and the AcaBellas will be hosting a joint concert on Sunday.