The National Cathedral Choir Comes to Bridgewater College

Jaia Dunbar, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va. – On Friday, March 25 at 7 p.m. individuals from the BC community gathered in the Carter Center Concert Hall to watch a performance from Cathedra, a group from the Washington National Cathedral. The Cathedra also held a workshop with Bridgewater College’s choirs.

The Friday night performance was said to be open to the public thanks to generous donations. Both Bridgewater College students and staff, as well as the surrounding community members, were in attendance.

According to Assistant Professor of Music and Choral Director Ryan Keebaugh, the choir came to campus on Thursday and rehearsed all day. On Friday, they had a four hour workshop with the Bridgewater College choirs.

“The choir worked with our students and then performed with our students,” said Keebaugh. “Any type of educational depth and value that you can experience; that is a highlight.”

The concert started at 7:05 after the conductor made a slight joke when two of the choir members walked in late.

“I believe we should all be in now,” said Director of Music Michael McCarthy.

The concert consisted of five pieces of music, all by five different composers.

“I am so glad I got to come to this concert and connect what I learned in my music class to some of the stylistic choices in the songs that were sung,” said junior Meridian Gillespie.

Four of the five pieces performed were variations of a work called “Miserere Mei” composed by Gregorio Allegri, Knut Nystedt, Josquin Des Prez and James Macmillan respectively.

“It was very interesting hearing how many different ways one piece could be written and performed,” said sophomore Lindsey Fertig, who is a music major. 

The piece performed that was not a variation of “Miserere Mei” was called “Wash Me Thoroughly” which was composed by Trevor Weston. The composer was inspired by “Miserere Mei” as well as what is currently happening in Ukraine.

“The music for ‘Wash Me Thoroughly’ arrived to us about two weeks ago. This is the first time we are performing it, and it is the first time that it is being heard by other people,” said McCarthy. “We hope that you enjoy it, and we ask that you not share the piece with others.”

Several people expressed their positive reaction to the concert.

“It really is not every day that professional singers come here to Bridgewater, so that was nice,” said Keebaugh.

I really loved the harmonies and the mix of voices throughout the choir,” said Fertig. “It was very interesting to watch the conductor’s conducting style and the way he controlled the choir. The choir worked very well together and were strong within their sound.”