Concert introduces the sounds of the world
Posted April 3, 2009
Rafael Anguiano
Todd J. Harper conducts the University of La Verne Chamber Singers and the University Chorale with accompaniment by Grace Xia Zhao on Saturday at the La Verne Church of the Brethren. The Chamber Singers performed traditional spirituals and folk songs from around the world. The group’s next concert is a performance of Mozart’s Requiem at 7 p.m. May 16 at the Church of the Brethren. The singers will reprise the performance at 7 p.m. May 17 at the Burbank First United Methodist Church.

Carmin Hermosillo
Staff Writer

The University Chorale and Chamber Singers presented “Colors of the World,“ Saturday night at the La Verne Church of the Brethren.

Todd Harper, assistant professor of music, conducted the concert alongside pianist Grace Xia Zhao, who teaches piano and music theory courses at the University of La Verne.

Approximately 60 people were in attendance, including students, parents and supporters.

They anxiously waited for the first song as Harper gave an introduction to the night.

Their was a sudden bellow that filled the small church and its isles as the chorale took center stage and kicked off with the William Shakespeare sonnet, “Two Love Songs for thy Sweet Love.“

It set the tone of excitement and curiosity for the rest of the concert.

In an effort to stay away from the norm of hearing song selections that come from Europe, Harper chose songs from different parts of the world.

“What I was trying to do is open up the audiences’ knowledge of foreign music from different parts of the world, not just Europe,“ Harper said.

“The idea here was to spotlight music from other countries, “ Harper added.

Zhao’s first place win in the California Music Teachers’ Association solo piano competition served its right as she led the choir with the pulsation of the key strokes as she segued seamlessly from one song to the next.

The crowd seemed to enjoy each song more than the first as the concert progressed.

After a few renditions of traditional South African and Zulu folk songs the Chamber singers sang one of the spectator’s favorite pieces, “Mata del anima sola“ and “Preguntale a ese mar.“

“I liked the Venezuela pieces, they vocalized different instruments that are used in Venezuela music,“ said Fernando Vallin, a senior international business major.

Choir president and tenor Matthew Whitem holds responsibilities to work with Harper on administration of the choir.

Although it was a lot of work he enjoyed the unique theme of the songs and welcomed the challenges of adapting to different types of sounds and music.

“I loved it, every song was different of course because they are from different countries,“ White said.

“We had to adapt our sound to what we were trying to make it sound like,“ White added.

The crowds ecstatic applause at the end of the show, was all Harper and the choir needed, to realize that their semester of hard work paid off.

The concert was followed by a small reception in the lobby of the church which gave the audience a chance to congratulate the choir for their performance.

Not only is Harper involved with the ULV choir, but he also serves on the faculty of Biola University where he teaches choral methods and advanced choral conducting.

The University’s Chorale and Chamber Singers’ next performance will be the Mozart Requiem at 7 p.m. May 16 at the La Verne Church of the Brethren.

Carmin Hermosillo can be reached at

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