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MSA Chorale shows off students talents

DAILY LEADER / NATHANIEL WEATHERSBY / The MSA Chorale sang to a full house Friday night during their Fall Concert which included a mixture of songs from the group's repertoire as well as holiday favorites.

DAILY LEADER / NATHANIEL WEATHERSBY / The MSA Chorale sang to a full house Friday night during their Fall Concert which included a mixture of songs from the group’s repertoire as well as holiday favorites.

Friday night, the MSA Chorale smiled before a crowd of clapping hands after delivering the last lines of their Alma Mater, “Like the magic, feathered phoenix, now we rise, we fly, we shine.”

MSA Music Director Patton Rice led his 32 students into a night of musical delight for the packed Mary Jane Lampton Auditorium.

After the MSA Alma Mater, the choir dove into the first part of their performance including “Gloria” by Antonia Vivaldi, “In Rememberance” by Elanor Daley and a medley called “Take Me to the Water” by Rollo Dilworth before which Rice said “Steve really gets a work out of this one.”

DAILY LEADER / NATHANIEL WEATHERSBY / Hannah Rice, 14, and her father, Patton Rice, walk away, smiling, from an embrace after the MSA Chorale performed her composition, "There Is Music."

DAILY LEADER / NATHANIEL WEATHERSBY / Hannah Rice, 14, and her father, Patton Rice, walk away, smiling, from an embrace after the MSA Chorale performed her composition, “There Is Music.”

Steve Russell, the Chorale’s musical accompanist, received tremendous amounts of praise during the night’s entertainment provoking, along with the Chorale, standing ovations from their audience.

Although the 14-song long concert had no intermission, Rice paced the evening well with details for the audience about each song and small anecdotes that made his guests chuckle and laugh throughout the night.

An example of such anecdotes was before the Chorale performed “The Word Was God” by Rice’s colleague Rosephanye Powell.

“It’s like a runaway freight train,” Rice said.

Seemed to be placed delicately in the middle of the line-up, “There is Music,” a song composed and written by Rice’s 14-year-old daughter, Hannah. Smiles from the Chorale met a grinning Hannah as she walked to hug her father after the performance of her piece.

The hugs didn’t stop there. “Following There is Music,” the choir left their tiered perch to surround the audience for the song “America” by Buryl Red. Rice encouraged all MSA alumni present to join in if they knew the song, and the circle encompassing the seating audience grew larger as past graduates joined hands with the Chorale members.

As the patriotic song ended Chorale members hugged their returning friends before filing to the back of the hall for the South African selection “Betelehemu” by Jonathan Crutchfield featuring a solo by senior, Amari White-Moyo.

The night ended with a selection of holiday songs, including “Carol of the Bells,’ “Ding Dong! Merrily on High,” “Joy to the World” and “Still, Still, Still” by Norman Luboff.

“It’s just so dang pretty,” Rice said about the Luboff arrangement.

The MSA Chorale’s night ended with a resounding standing ovation for the Chorale, its director and accompanist.

“It was wonderful,” Jana Russell, choir director at Loyd Star Attendance Center, said.

Russell’s daughter Johanna is a junior vocal student at MSA.

“I got quite teary,” Russell said. “My daughter has had a wonderful time here.”