Saturday, October 11, 2014

SMWC Homecoming Concert 2014: Music and Memories

The 2014 SMWC Alumnae Homecoming Choir
Photo Credit: Sharon R. Boyle
Sr. Marie Brendan Harvey rehearsing
Photo Credit: Anthony Dinkel
Photo Credit: Sharon R Boyle
Saturday, October 4, 2014, was a day to be remembered. The Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Chorale and Madrigals Homecoming Concert "Music and Memories" was held in the Church of the Immaculate Conception and included many memorable songs, traditions, and people.

Generations of alumnae returned to sing together, to meet new students, and to remember the traditions of the SMWC Chorale and Madrigals. The program included songs with special meaning, such as the piece "Music, When Soft Voices Die" by Roger Quilter, lovingly dedicated to the memory of Marian Krajewska Bates, who was the Voice Professor at SMWC from 1970-2005. She sadly passed away this summer due to injuries sustained from an automobile accident. Her legacy lives on in each person who had the privilege of knowing her and for those who learned from her.

Music, when soft voices die, vibrates in the memory;
Odours, when sweet violets sicken, live within the sense they quicken.
Rose leaves when the rose is dead, are heaped for the beloved’s bed;
And so thy thoughts when thou art gone, love itself shall slumber on.
(Poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley)

Michael Boswell has taught voice at SMWC since 2005 and
 has been Director of Choirs since 2009
Photo Credit: Anthony Dinkel
Photo Credit: Anthony Dinkel

Aligning with the theme of Music and Memories, Director of Choirs Michael Boswell invited Sister Marie Brendan Harvey to return and conduct two pieces with the Alumnae Choir. Harvey began teaching at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in 1950, where she taught Voice, Chorale, and Chant. In 1958, she started the Madrigals, pulling the best voices in Chorale together in a group of twelve women, offering three programs a year. While Director of Choirs at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College for almost thirty years, she led many concerts in conjunction with many men's choirs which included Saint Joseph's College, Ball State University, and Xavier University. She also premiered Sister Cecilia Clare Bocard's well-known A Cycle of Psalms.
Sr. Marie Brendan Harvey, then and now
Photo Credit: Sharon R. Boyle
As a celebration of both Brendan and Bocard, the SMWC Madrigals, directed by Michael Boswell, performed 'The Lord is My Shepard' and 'Cast Thy Care on the Lord' from Bocard's A Cycle of Psalms at the Homecoming Concert.

Boswell made some remarks before the Alumnae Choir sang on the concert:

"The first piece they will sing, ‘In This Ancient House’ speaks of a place filled with memories, not so different than our very own Church of the Immaculate Conception! As they sing this piece, I encourage you to reflect upon some of your favorite memories in this special and sacred space." 
Rehearsing "In This Ancient House"
Photo Credit: Sharon R Boyle
As the choir sang this haunting piece, the church seemed to fill with memories evoked by the music. The voices blended to create yet another moment in time which would remain in the historic building long after the music ended. 

Sr. Marie Brendan Harvey then proceeded to direct the Alumnae Homecoming Choir in performing "Danny Boy" and "Blessing", as she was known for singing Irish songs when she served on the music faculty. The energy of this woman defied her years and the choirs reciprocated her energy! She instructed many students in her time at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, leaving them as part of her legacy to the world and establishing a standard of excellence in the choral programs. Also connecting the past with the present was the mention of Sister Susan Pietrus, DMA, who was a member of the Madrigals under direction of Sr. Marie Brendan Harvey when she was a Woods student. Pietrus went on to become Director of Choirs at SMWC in 1980 and served in this role until she passed away in 2008.
Sr. Marie Brendan Harvey rehearsing with the Alumnae Choir
Photo Credit: Sharon R. Boyle
Seniors singing "How Can I Keep From Singing"
Photo Credit: Anthony Dinkel

"How Can I Keep From Singing" was a rousing piece, featuring the current seniors, singing the solo part as a small group. The Homecoming Concert ended as Boswell ended the same concert the previous year, singing the Alma Mater "Our Lady of Providence" and "The Ring Song". Boswell invited all alumnae in the audience, as well as the choirs, to circle the church to sing, stating: 

"It's time for YOU to sing the songs of YOUR community. I would like to invite all current students and any alums that are here today to circle the Church for the singing of 'Our Lady of Providence' the Alma Mater and the 'Ring Song'. The words are available in your program. These are your songs, and your chance to feel the power of memories through music!"
Pictured: Jessica Claycomb and Patricia Walke
Photo Credit: Anthony Dinkel

And sing they did! Click here to enjoy the singing of Our Lady of Providence, by all who were present at the concert. 

Michael Boswell (L); Sr. Laurette Bellamy (C); Ron Maurey (R)
Sr. Laurette Bellamy, Professor Emeritus, taught on Music Faculty
(and served as Chair) at SMWC for many years,
starting the Music Therapy Program in 1983.
Ron Maurey has accompanied at SMWC
since the 90's and remains as Instructor of Piano
Photo Credit: Ron Maurey
Receiving a standing ovation following the direction of the Alumnae Choir
Photo Credit: Anthony Dinkel

From the Past to the Present: Sr. Marie Brendan Harvey (L); Michael Boswell (C); and Sr. Martha Steidl (R)
Sr. Harvey and Sr. Steidl started as Novitiates in the Sisters of Providence together
and both served on the Music Faculty at SMWC for many years.
Photo Credit: Sharon R Boyle

Rebecca Kloskowski, senior
Photo Credit: Anthony Dinkel
Dr. Tracy Richardson ('88), Chair of SMWC Music and Theatre Dept,
singing in Alumnae Choir
Photo Credit: Anthony Dinkel

Ron Maurey, Accompanist,
conferring with Sr. Marie Brendan Harvey
Photo Credit: Sharon R Boyle
Michael Boswell with Elizabeth Hunter ('08)
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Hunter
Ron Maurey with Sherry Bube ('14)
Photo Credit: Ron Maurey

Until we come together again for another Reunion or Homecoming Concert, consider these words by Mary Oliver. 

–––all of them were singing.
And, of course, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn’t last

For more than a few moments.
It’s one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,

is that, once you’ve been there,
you’re there forever.

(from "Such Singing in the Wild Branches" by Mary Oliver, from Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays, © Copyright 2003 by Mary Oliver.)