Student concert gives voice to the wintry theme of ‘memento mori’


On the evening of Nov. 27, Franciscan University of Steubenville’s sacred music program students gathered in the Gentile Gallery to perform their concert program of “Requiem Selections.”

Though the small audience was disproportionate to the talent displayed, the performance was breathtaking and well worth the listeners’ foray into the cold night to attend.

Sophomore co-organizers JP Soulliere and Julia Nagy opened the event, and the selections began with instrumental “Graduale from the Requiem in C Minor No. 2” by Luigi Cherubini, performed by a woodwind ensemble of two flutes and a clarinet.

Highlights from the program included Soulliere and Nagy’s moving and reverent duet of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Pie Jesu,” junior Arianna Fouch’s passionate, crystalline rendition of “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” from “The Phantom of the Opera,” and junior Gabriella Carrizales’ powerful performance of “Into the West” from “The Return of the King.”

The final selection was “In Paradisum” by Maurice Duruflé, which was performed by an eight-person choir including the earlier soloists and conducted by Soulliere.

As co-coordinator and performer, Soulliere explained the concert’s theme, saying, “We definitely … went for the requiem theme because of the month of November and the symbolism and everything behind it.” He also commented on the providential nature of the decision, saying, “There were so many songs we were already singing and … it just kind of blossomed from there with the other choices of songs. … It was really by the grace of God.”

Attendees similarly enjoyed the requiem theme and were impressed by the performance. Junior Tyler Boyd said, “With the conclusion of the Church year … all of the readings at Mass are reflecting on the end of the age … and I think it’s very appropriate to have this concert at this time of the year.”

Boyd, who “very much enjoyed the concert,” said that the song choices were conducive to reflecting on the saying “memento mori.”

All in all, the concert was moving for both the performers and the attendees. Senior Matt Wagner participated in the chorale piece and was grateful for the experience, saying, “I feel that this was a great opportunity to get together with fellow artists on campus and collaborate to create an experience for those who might not have gotten to attend a feast for … All Saints or All Souls or who wanted to experience a little bit of Franciscan’s cultural offerings.”

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