Music with the Twilight Falls: Thoughts on Twilight Concert 2017

Emily Woo '18

The pre-concert routine was just like any other: I put on my too familiar black dress, black tights, and black shoes. I pinned the hair out of my face and put on some make-up. I checked to see if my music was in order in my folder. Then, I walked up the stairs to the Bailey Hall green room and picked up a white carnation. And it hit me. This is my last concert in Bailey Hall. This is my last Twilight.

I am graduating in a few weeks, and have been in the Chorus since freshman fall. I remember my parents driving up to see my first Twilight performance in Sage Chapel during Parent’s Weekend three short years ago. I remember moving to Bailey Hall the next year wondering if people would come. I remember exuding confidence my junior year, so proud of the Chorus’s ability to move and entertain its listeners. What will I remember about this Twilight?

The first thing that comes to mind is that I felt the most challenged musically this Twilight. In learning In the Bleak by Benjamin Britten and Salve Regina by Pedro Bermudez we were pushed to learn many notes quickly but we learned with confidence that we could make the music come to life. The Chorus made pieces like Ba Wo Thixo Somandla arr. by Sidumo Nyamezele and Thulele Mama Ya by Lisa Young sound easy, but I know all of our minds were racing to remember the words, notes, and structure of the pieces, having put them together that week. The Grail Bird made its world premiere that night, and with the composer Christine Donkin in the audience, we felt pressure to do the piece justice. Nevertheless, throughout the concert, I was never worried about the Chorus’s ability to deliver the music.

The next thing that comes to mind is how true the concert’s theme of Alone | Together was for me. As a Chorus, we have a singular goal to deliver music to the audience, and so I felt a sense of togetherness during the concert in achieving that goal. I especially felt our unity in Cor Meum by Hanne Bæverfjord and Will the Circle Be Unbroken by J. David Moore. But the acoustics of Bailey are such that you very much feel alone on stage. It is really hard to hear other people on your part, being so spread out. Thus, I felt a special kind of focus that night and was determined to come in on my part (I’m a Soprano 2) on time, on the right pitch, and with a warm tone. I’ve really appreciated the push for all members of the Chorus to be musical leaders and I have definitely seen the Chorus’s sound grow and mature over the past few years as a result.

The last thing I will remember is taking a bow with all of the Chorus alumni and exiting the stage for the last time. I am grateful to the Chorus for the memories of bringing music to people around the world and I hope that, before I die, I may tread the Hill again to sing of our beloved Cornell with the Chorus.