At 6:30 Wednesday, April 25, the faith based and family community surrounding Southwest Early College Campus (SWECC) and the Wornall corridor was most resoundingly and pleasurably treated to a concert by the combined choirs of SWECC and the St. Andrew's Episcopal Church Chancel Choir. The efforts of Mr. Matthew Strader and Dr. Sharon Hettinger combined to bring the sounds of gospel, classical and contemporary music to the sanctuary of St. Andrew's.
The SWECC choir entered the darkened sanctuary of St. Andrew's single file, singing an acapella rendition of the gospel song, Down to the River to Pray, and gathered on the steps leading to the altar to complete their song. Next, the St. Andrew's Chancel Choir sang a classical rendition of Ecce, quomodo moritur from the columbarium, which surrounded the audience with beautiful music. The combined instrumental talents of Dr. Hettinger, Mr. Strader and guitarists Adam Black and Peter Park added to the performance's crisp and elegant presentation much to the pleasure of all in attendance.
Both choirs presented solo singers that commanded the audience's full attention. SWECC's Sion Lyons' voice floated over the crowd with a lilting melody that held everyone's attention for every single note for VALSPENA (from Algeria). St. Andrew's Allison Fikejs captivated the audience with Simple Song (from MASS by Leonard Bernstein). Both ladies showed poise and a musical sense of control that was both professional and full of life. Their efforts were resoundingly appreciated in the ringing applause after their performances.
Together, the choirs performed two pieces, showcasing their combined talents which echoed the joy the audience felt by the time the performance approached its conclusion. I, for one, wished the performance could have lasted much longer but all those in attendance were extremely grateful for the efforts of both directors and most appreciatively, the performers of SWECC and St. Andrew's Chancel Choi.
We hope this joyful union of voices is the first of many future collaborations between our two choral groups and this spring concert can be an annual event we can all look forward to for many years to come.
E. J. Szubka