If music be the food of love…

Lakehead University Vocal Ensemble put on a show that rang with talent

Amanda McAlpine
Arts and Culture Editor

Lakehead University Vocal Ensemble, more commonly known as LUVE, wowed audience members on the evening of December 6 in the Bora Laskin auditorium. With clear direction given by conductor Dean Jobin-Bevans, the choir’s sound rang out seamlessly across filled seats.

Handel wrote more than his well-known Messiah, and his works include several Oratorios. LUVE performed his “Hallelujah, Amen” chorus from Judas Maccabaeus. The piece was followed by Palestrina’s “Sicut Cervus,” and both pieces used flowing melody lines and interweaving harmonies to create an ambiance of pure delicacy.

Two different versions of the ever-loved “Ave Verum” followed; LUVE sang Mozart’s classic rendition with perfection. The bass section kept their deep notes in pitch and the blend of the women’s sections shined through the choir’s spot-on Latin text.

Next came Canadian composer Stephanie Martin’s arrangement of the piece, which started with a small ostinato, creating a subtle mystique tone.

The choir breathed together and found a common rhythm throughout both pieces, bringing the audience to enjoy the fine reverberations filling the auditorium.

Brahms’ Zigeunerlieder proved to be a clear challenge which the choir confidently tackled. The German text is tricky to pronounce, but LUVE produced it easy as pie. Brahms’ work comprises of twelve different Gypsy songs, originally for solo voice and piano, and today more commonly performed as full choir pieces.

The first song presented clear dissonant notes which are always a little scary to sing compared to the regular dominant and tonic pitches. LUVE presented these musical crunches with style, and Jobin-Bevans kept control of his choir as the tempo picked up.

The third song of Brahms’ German work opened with a soft tenor passage, showcasing the strength of tenor voices in LUVE. The bouncy, staccato line portrayed a fun, light-hearted feeling and brought a smile upon the faces of listeners.

The sixth song again made it clear than the tenor section was confident and sang together. They tied a light, almost comedic melody line with sweet counterpoint to bring the sound of dancing harmonies to listeners’ ears.

Three English songs closed off the evening’s performance: “In Remembrance,” “In the Evening,” and “If Music be the Food of Love,” two of which were composed by Canadians. LUVE gave the words clear diction. The resolutions heard from dissonance to tonal appeared fun to play with, and included a lovely echo effect in the first piece.

LUVE is a well accomplished vocal ensemble and a choir full of talent. As Shakespeare said it, and as LUVE sung it, “if music be the food of love, sing on.”