The Kenyon College Chamber Singers, conducted by Dr. Benjamin Locke, will be performing on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, at Grinnell United Church of Christ at 7 p.m. The Chamber Singers, consisting of fifty-five undergraduates chosen by competitive audition, is Kenyon’s premier touring ensemble. The group is noted for its versatility of vocal style and broad repertoire. The New York Concert Review applauded the artistry of the ensemble, stating “the young members of the Chamber Singers…retain the proper lightness to navigate the translucent textures of Sweelinck’s Cantate Domino and Palestrina’s Sicut Cervus…focused intently on the conductor, the singers kept their audience hanging on every word.”
The Chamber Singers will again present an eclectic mix of a cappella choral repertoire on their 2018 Spring Tour. A centerpiece to the program will be Johannes Brahms’s motet Schaffe in mir, Gott, ein rein’ Herz (Create in me a clean heart, O God), with numerous other compositions by composers Randall Thompson, Kathleen Allan, Gerald Cohen, Katerina Gimon, Orlando di Lasso and Juhani Komulainen. The ensemble is noted for its regular inclusion of music from South Africa, which this year includes Shilohini Makhanana (Look, Sweetheart!), a Tsonga folksong transcribed by Dr. Locke. Other pieces on the program include Thomas Morley’s Fire, Fire, My Heart, Norman Dinerstein’s Frog School, and African-American spirituals arranged by Jeffrey Ames and Stacey Gibbs.
The members of Chamber Singers come from nineteen states and the District of Columbia. A minority of the singers have declared music as their academic major, with the rest having chosen fields such as mathematics, religion, biology, drama, psychology, philosophy, and English, to name but a few. All the singers value music as an integral part of a liberal-arts education and take great pride in reaching for the highest musical standards in performance.
Benjamin Locke is in his thirty-fourth year at Kenyon. He directs the Kenyon Community Choir, teaches music theory, conducting and voice, and is also the musical director of the Knox County Symphony (based in Mount Vernon, Ohio). He has written several research articles on the choral music of Johannes Brahms and has also published many transcriptions and arrangements of South African folksongs. Dr. Locke earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he studied extensively with Robert Fountain.
The Music Department consists of six distinguished faculty in the areas of musicology, music theory and performance, and ethnomusicology. The Department resides in the Storer Music Building with state-of-the-art classrooms and performance spaces. Applied study is offered in piano, woodwinds, brass, strings, and voice as well as organ, harp, harpsichord and some early instruments. Both music majors and non-majors participate in the numerous instrumental and vocal ensembles on campus.
Kenyon College is Ohio’s oldest private college and has been building a reputation for excellence for more than one hundred ninety-four years. It boasts a remarkably dedicated faculty, a carefully planned liberal arts curriculum, a highly capable student body, and alumni who have contributed significantly in all walks of life.