The US premier of Laudate Pueri by Martin Palmeri was performed Friday night by the Fullerton College Chamber Singers. The fall choral concert also featured the Fullerton Concert Choir.
The Fullerton College Concert Choir, directed by Nicola Bertoni, began with “Warum doch erschallen” which is the fourth movement from Johannes Brahms’ Opus 92.
The “Introit” and “Kyrie” from Requiem, Opus 9 by Maurice Durufle was next. These are the first and second movements from the requiem. During the two movements the choir blended together and sounded like a single voice.
First soprano Jessica Chavez said that this was a challenging piece and, “it wasn’t just singing the notes and knowing the words. It was about blending with one another.”
Durufle’s complete work will be performed by the concert choir at the spring 2019 concert.
The next song was from G. F. Handel’s Messiah, “For unto us a child is born.” This song will also be featured in the choir’s Christmas concert.
The last two pieces, Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Bogoroditse Devo” and “The Battle of Jericho,” arranged by Moses Hogan, were performed A capella and without the use of sheet music. During these two pieces the singers’ bodies were angled towards Bertoni, intently watching for cues.
The concert choir left the stage as the audience continued to applaud their performance.
The Fullerton College Chamber Singers performed “Laudate Pueri” by Palmeri directed by guest conductor, Camilo Santostefano. Palmeri was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and is known for using the rhythm and harmonies of the Tango in his work. Santostefano came to Fullerton from Argentina to direct the US premiere of Palmeri’s work.
The conductor of the chamber singers, Arian Khaefi stated the planning for this premier started two years ago when he himself went to Argentina as part of the International Conductor Exchange Program. While in Argentina he met Santostefano and chose the work by Palmeri because it was something in the conductors body of work and that would feature Argentina.
The chamber singers were accompanied by a tango band which consisted of a piano, bass, violin and bandoneon for the performance. The addition of the band brought the tango influence to life.
During the performance choir members were taken by the rhythm and swayed to the beat. Santostefano also bounced to the beat as his hands directed the singers and band with big sweeping gestures during the performance.
Santostefano worked with the singers for a week in preparation for the concert. In describing the experience of having a guest conductor members felt that it was an amazing privilege.
The audience gave a standing ovation to the choir, band and guest conductor Santostefano in appreciation for the performance.