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Loyola celebrates 8th annual festival sing after a three-year pandemic pause

Loyola celebrates 8th annual festival sing after a three-year pandemic pause

The bright hues of blue and yellow filled the Loyola University Maryland Alumni Memorial Chapel last Wednesday, March 23, for Festival Sing. The clothing and musical numbers came in support for the people of Ukraine due to the ongoing war against Russia. Every vocal group on campus performed a few songs from their repertoire and came together for one joint tune in the end. It’s a chance for everyone involved in the fine arts to see and support each other when they might not have a chance to otherwise.

The opening act was the cast of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, the school’s current musical. They energetically performed the first two songs of the show. The main characters showcased their talent in their solos, and the ensemble blended together to create harmonies that captivated the audience.

From there the night transitioned into two more solemn numbers sung by the Loyola University Singers. In “Can We Sing the Darkness Into Light,” they mused, “Set the swords of judgement aside, let mercy’s eyes see the human face.”

Next up were the acapella groups; the coed Loyola Greysounds, the female-fronted Belles, and the guys of the Chimes. The Greysounds took the stage first and gave energetic performances of a Stevie Wonder classic and chart-topping One Republic song “Someday.” The Belles were up next, and their talent shined with passionate performances of “Your Words” by Tori Kelly and a mashup of “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley and emotional ballad “Creep” by Radiohead. The Chimes rounded out this instrument-less segment with upbeat, fun renditions of “Who Do You Love” by Mariana’s Trench and “Dirty Little Secret” by The All American Rejects.

The Loyola University Maryland Chapel Choir directed by George Miller was next. The largest ensemble of the night headed powerful vocals and impactful words. Heard in “In the Morning, In the Evening” are the lyrics, “Anywhere you may go, God will go with you.”

To round out the evening every group came together to perform a song called “Building Up the Kingdom.” A soulful, catchy tune that emphasized the theme of peace and coming together that was palpable from the event.

Loyola freshman and member of the University Singers Ellie Rutledge says, “You can see so much more of people’s expressions and feelings when they’re singing the songs [without masks]. It felt like a much more authentic concert after so long without that community and all the performances. Hearing everyone sing together sent chills down my spine.”

Dr. Clayborn Price is a veteran of the Loyola Fine Arts Department. He is the director of the University Singers, advisor to the cast of the musical, and professor of many music courses at the University. He was happy to be back conducting his ensembles and showcasing his love of the arts at Festival Sing for the first time in three years. “It’s exciting! I always enjoy hearing what everybody else is working on and stuff, and it’s just a neat opportunity for everyone to come together in that common bond of music and hear what everybody else is doing together.”

The audience was invited to join in on that last song, and the Loyola crowd did not disappoint. Students waving iPhone flashlights and clapping along in the front rows had everyone in good spirits. Loyola junior Tessa French has been a member of the University Singers since her freshman year. Due to the pandemic, this was her first Festival Sing experience. She says, “I like seeing people smile. I feel like it lights up their face so I’m really happy to be able to see it again and perform with people I love.”

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Loyola celebrates 8th annual festival sing after a three-year pandemic pause