The William Peace University Singers, a diverse group of students led and united by Julie Ricciardi, performed an equally varied program. Over the course of the evening, the music transitioned from gospel choral numbers to featured students performing more modern repertoire. As a whole, the program was a delightful showcase of the students` talents and hard work, both as a group and individually.
The program began with a set of sacred pieces. A gospel arrangement of "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" was sung joyfully by all the students, followed by a beautifully harmonized quartet of the hymn "Nothing But the Blood". Singing a cappella, four female singers navigated each phrase with precision and blend. They were arranged around the microphone so that they easily were able to make eye contact, a technique that clearly helped them connect with one another and the song.
The singers moved to jazz repertoire next, performing several songs from among the audience in order to encourage audience participation. This served as a sort of intermission for the program, as the audience was prompted to stand up and sing along. Then, several soloists were featured, performing alongside an instrumental trio of upright bass, piano, and light percussion. This trio provided great support and background for the soloists. Notable solos were a sultry version of Gershwin`s "Summertime" and a surprisingly impressive performance of the song "Let It Go," from the movie Frozen.
Several duets and collaborations among the students were also very notable, such as a duet performance of the currently popular song "Say Something." The original recording of this song is emotional and intimate, yet this version seemed to be even more intimate, making it a memorable performance. "Vocal MasterPEACE," an a cappella group formed and led exclusively by the WPU Singers, performed next, singing a very dramatic "Telephone" – their use of cellphones onstage created an entire act that the students upheld throughout the song. This performance was enjoyable, as the arrangement was somewhat unpredictable, but in an innovative way.
A group performance of "Bohemian Rhapsody" was sung after a preface by the director, who said that the singers had only been working on the song for several weeks, and asked for the audience`s opinion. Although it was a little rough around the edges, their performance was promising, a fact echoed by many thumbs-up from audience members. This emphasized the students` work ethic as a group, relating to how fast they must learn their music. Specifically, the entire group meets together for only an hour each week. Combined with the fact that very few of the singers are Fine Arts majors, the WPU Singers` concert was very impressive as a whole.