Written by Jessica Shelburne
From 2017-2020, the Roanoke College Choir Department has experienced a collection of remarkable events and moments. In the spring of 2017, both the A Capella Choir and Oriana Singers joined the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and a handful of other collegiate choirs for a performance of Beethoven’s monumental Symphony No. 9. This Symphony is one of Beethoven’s most notable creations.
The following fall of 2017, RCACC toured Virginia Lutheran churches and high schools with a professional orchestra celebrating the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of his Ninety-Five Theses. The choir performed 13 concerts during this memorable tour, titled “A Mighty Fortress Tour: Luther in Music.” As the second Lutheran college in the world, this anniversary is a hallmark of Roanoke College values.
In the spring of 2018, the Oriana Singers, along with the University of Chicago’s Men’s Glee Club, received a special invitation to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. Here, they perform a concert with UVA’s Men’s Glee Club.
After the spring farewell concert to the class of 2019, members of both Oriana and A Capella had the privilege of traveling to France. They performed in Normandy and Brittany in commemoration of the 175th anniversary of D-Day. The singers got to meet with historical groups and perform at memorial ceremonies in recognition of the anniversary.
In the fall of 2019, RCACC performed its first opera, I Pagliacci, Leoncavallo’s treasured story of love and betrayal, balanced with elements of comedy and tragedy. The choirs joined the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and the Opera Roanoke Chorus to launch the beginning of Opera Roanoke’s 44th season. These concerts were conducted by Steven White of the Metropolitan Opera.
In 2020, the choirs were presented by Opera Roanoke at the Jefferson Center in Downtown Roanoke for their annual OFF-BROADWAY OFF-CAMPUS performance.
In the winter of each year, the choirs present the ever-popular Lessons and Carols of Christmas performances at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church downtown.
Not included amongst these memorable events are the more personal moments from every rehearsal that help construct a cohesive, well-tuned group of singers. To every member graduating this year, thank you and congratulations on a successful career and series of concerts on behalf of the Roanoke College Choir Department.