Oklahoma Christian University’s Music Department will perform its annual Spring Choral Concert tonight, April 9, at 7:30 p.m.
The entire choir program is participating in the event, which will take place in the Oklahoma Christian Conservatory, according to conductor Kyle Pullen.
“There are 105 singers singing together, four songs and then there will be the chamber singers, which is about 53 [singers],” Pullen said. “They will sing another eight songs, so it will be 12 songs total.”
Pullen said they are performing the same music they will take on tour later this month through eight high schools and four churches in Texas. The spring performance is a free show, conducted by Pullen and accompanied by Miho Fisher.
“Our fall concert in November is about half of the music,” Pullen said. “As we get started in the second semester, we add five or six numbers to the program.”
Pullen said the students have prepared through rehearsals five days a week, and have utilized memorization tests to show they are able to perform without music.
“Most of the concert will be memorized,” Pullen said. “It is a matter of getting everybody to sing together in a united way so that they can look at me and not get buried in their music.”
According to Pullen, the memorization is very challenging because of the variety of languages in which the choir will perform, including long passages of German and French.
“I want the music to touch the audience,” Pullen said. “I want them to be drawn into not just the sound of it, but also the humanity of it. Also, I want it to have some variety. I want there to be scary songs, fun songs, sad songs, all kinds of emotions brought out and mix them in a way that I feel will bring them to us. I don’t want to sing at an audience; I want to invite them.”
According to Pullen, the show contains a wide array of music.
“We are doing some jazz, we are doing some gospel, romantic period music, renaissance music,” Pullen said. “It’s a cafeteria of music. I hope they can hear the many genres within choral music itself.”
Pullen said he wants the audience to see music can be felt together, and choral music concerts do not have to be boring, as so many have been for him.
“Most choir concerts are boring,” Pullen said. “I want people to be drawn into music they might not have ever heard before and then learn to love it from that performance. That is my passion.”
According to Pullen, to powerfully perform the music, the choir has to know it very well and be able to relate it into their own lives to express it with meaning to the audience. He said this is why he conducts memorization tests for his students.
“They cannot be reading black and white on a page,” Pullen said. “They have to make the words and music of other people their own expressions. If it becomes something they can live, if they can take the poetry and relate it into their own lives, then they can express that. Then we have to do that in some sort of unified way to where it sounds the same, so we have to have an understanding of each other, too.”