Weber State’s orchestra and combined choir performed Verdi’s “Requiem” on Feb. 21 at St. Joseph’s Church in Ogden. The performance was around 90 minutes, consisting of orchestral music, choral singing and operatic soloists.
The Performing Arts program doesn’t normally hold this type of performance this time of year, nor do they perform works of this length.
Mitchel Potter, member of the choir, said, “Other (performances) we’ve done are around 45 minutes to an hour. This one is pretty long.”
Potter also said that the choir and orchestra have been preparing for this performance since the first week of the semester.
The orchestra’s double bass player Spencer Howe talked about the difficulties that both the choirs and orchestra had to overcome to perform this piece.
“When you’re doing a group project at school, it can be hard for three or four people to all work around the same schedule. Now imagine doing that with over 100 people … This kind of performance just doesn’t happen every day,” Howe said.
Orchestra Director Dr. Francisco de Gálvez said that there was no specific reason for choosing “Requiem.”
“(Requiem) is a masterpiece. It is challenging but we have many performers who are qualified to take the challenge. We want to push ourselves to be able to do these harder pieces,” Gálvez said.
Choir Director Dr. Mark Henderson also stated, “As far as I know, Weber has never performed ‘Requiem.’ I’ve worked here for 30 years and I’ve never seen it done.”
Sunday night, the choirs and orchestra performed for over 300 attendees, including family, friends and fans of the music.
As the performance began, attendees were surprised to hear music coming from in front and behind.
The music began softly as if to prepare those in attendance for the exciting and loud song entitled “Dies Irae.” This song showed the dynamic between orchestra and choir as the students worked in sync to deliver this powerful piece.
“The song (Dies Irae) means wrath of God in Latin … Songs like this can show the delicate moments in ‘Requiem’ as well as the aggressive ones too,” Gálvez said.
During the last song, “Libera Me,” the orchestra showed their ability to perform emotional and well-syncopated notes alongside the mezzo soloist.
Nearly all of the members of the audience gave a standing ovation to the performers. Members of the choirs and orchestra proudly smiled after finishing a difficult piece.
While “Requiem” hasn’t been done at Weber in over 30 years, the performers showed that they could play such a difficult piece.