“Give me courage…Give me patience…Give me strength.” Jordan Saul, associate director of choral studies, said that these are the three parts of Treble Choir’s April 14 concert called “Best Laid Plans.” Centered around three Ave Maria settings, Saul said this concert portrays a journey from hope, through a storm, and then to hope once again.
Treble voices fill Fynette Kulas Hall as the choir rehearses for its last concert of the year. Saul said that the choir’s president conducts a piece every year.
As Ciara Newman, senior and this year’s president, prepares to conduct a song, she reminds the group: “You don’t need to be religious to appreciate this text.” The choir then proceeds to sing the beginning of a hopeful Ave Maria.
The first Ave Maria setting portrays a new day which then turns into storm. The second setting is about domestic challenges and includes an Ave Maria setting composed by Veronica Cator. The third setting will end the concert on a hopeful note, closing with “Don’t You Let Nobody Turn You ’Round.”
Saul said this piece is “basically saying when you come through all of these challenges, you learn who you are and you learn what’s important…and that’ll be the final musical statement that we make.”
Treble Choir’s performance at the Ohio Music Education Association Conference and a combined concert with Spelman College Glee Club limited rehearsal hours. The concert’s concept and name “Best Laid Plans” came from Saul’s frustration with her original plans for the concert falling through.
She said programming this concert was different from the usual, because they needed repertoire they knew that audiences hadn’t already heard, while also adding songs they could learn by the concert “that still conveyed a story,” said Saul.
“Treble choir has become known as a choir that has something to say from the stage,” said Saul, “so we couldn’t just stand up and sing things that were pretty. They had to mean something to the choir as a whole so that we could really say something.”
Saul said that Treble Choir has used music to address societal issues ranging from gender roles to racism. She said that the choir’s ability to do this stems from the group’s atmosphere, which is “a place that is safe for [members] to be vulnerable and honest and open.”
“Conducting them is the absolute joy of my life,” said Saul, “because they’re so giving and they’re so open, so they make me want to be better. I practice for them because their time is so valuable, and I want to use every moment of it to all of our best advantage and never take for granted what they’re bringing to the table every day.”
As Saul is conducting the last song of rehearsal, she tells the choir to “paint every sound intentionally.”
Saul said that she wants members of her chorus to know that “how you do anything is how you do everything.” Saul said that excellence is about making choices in every moment to utilize your skills and abilities as best as you can.
“But even more than that, I think I would want them to remember that the world needs to hear what they have to say,” Saul said, “and that any time you go up against the status quo, you’re going to get pushback, and don’t let that be a deterrent to sing louder, speak more fiercely. Believe in what you have to say. And make people hear you.”