CMA faculty and students shine in Mendelssohn's Elijah to finish the year


The pandemic has disrupted our lives, health, and well-being in so many ways. This is certainly true of live large-scale ensemble performances at the College of Musical Arts. After a two-and-a-half-year hiatus, the BG Philharmonia and combined mixed choruses of the College of Musical Arts celebrated the return of such events to Kobacker Hall with a provocative and moving performance of Mendelssohn’s dramatic oratorio Elijah, April 24. Drs. Mark Munson and Richard Schnipke prepared the A Cappella Choir, University Choral Society, and Collegiate Chorale. Dr. Emily Freeman Brown led the BG Philharmonia and choruses from the podium.

A true highlight was the introduction of Keith Phares, Assistant Professor of Voice, to community audiences. Appointed in, 2019, Phares was an impressive Elijah, with his commanding voice and stage presence. He recalled that during his on-campus interview, he was asked if he would consider learning this role as there were plans to perform the work once a bass/baritone faculty member was hired. Programming of the work was cancelled (postponed in this case) for two more years, but it was worth the wait. Other soloists included faculty members Christopher Scholl, Sujin Lee, and students Katherine Pracht Phares, Ivana Butler, Anna Murcko, and Sara Avery. 

CMA dean William Mathis spoke of the special meaning this performance provided for the College: “Elijah is a work about the struggle, tensions, and even the fight one man went through to lead his people through adversity. This piece provides a fitting reminder of both the personal and collective struggles of our faculty, staff, and students throughout the pandemic and a beautiful example of how perseverance and sacrifice bring rewards.” There could not be a more appropriate way to finish the 2021-2022 academic year in the College of Musical Arts.

Updated: 08/23/2022 03:08PM