A Summer “Ode to Joy”

July 3, 2017

Eastman School of Music’s Eastman Summer Sing, held on Tuesday, July 17, 2012, at Kilbourn Hall. The event featured guest conductors from the Eastman Choral Institute.


By Kameron Ghanavati

Beethoven’s most celebrated work, the finale from his Ninth Symphony, will be performed as part of the annual program of Summer Sings! here at Eastman on Thursday, July 6 at 7:30 p.m. in Kilbourn Hall. It is the first performance in the Eastman “Summer Sings” series of readings of great choral masterworks.

Led by Dr. William Weinert, this unique performance allows the audience to also act as the chorus. This casual environment invites all music-lovers (no matter your skill level) to pick up a score on Thursday and partake in this experience with us. A rehearsal will begin at 7:30 p.m. for chorus members in Kilbourn Hall, to review tricky spots within the work, followed by a twenty-minute break, before beginning promptly at 8:40 p.m. to run the 40-minute finale. No strict dress code is implemented.

The work will not be performed in its entirety. Dr. Weinert chose to excerpt only the final choral movement (often called the “Ode to Joy”), sans orchestra. Kurt Galvan will play a piano transcription. Soloists include soprano Natalie Buickians, mezzo-soprano Allyn Van Dusen, myself as the tenor soloist, and bass Joe Finetti.

This experience will those who may not be versed in music to have an opportunity to sing in a choir within a very casual setting.

Personally, it has been a blast working on this piece and I love the idea of the “audience” having a double expectation to watch and also perform. The choral finale is the ultimate culmination of Beethoven’s compositional style. Everyone knows the “Ode to Joy” melody, and Beethoven does a fantastic job keeping the melody present while altering some minor details along the course of the finale, including some non-conventional rhythms to spice the movement. The soloists have some quartet moments, but the majority of the finale is centered on the full chorus. They are the meat of this movement and certainly have some very exciting, albeit tricky, moments. Because this is a casual performance, there is an opportunity to go back and re-do any passage that may falter, so do not fret at the thought of the expectation for perfection. The experience will surely be unforgettable and fun!

Eastman School of Music’s Eastman Summer Sing, held on Tuesday, July 17, 2012, at Kilbourn Hall. The event featured guest conductors from the Eastman Choral Institute.

If you’re looking for something exciting to do this Thursday evening, why not come down to Kilbourn Hall, grab a score, stay cool and meet a few local musicians? This event is free to the public.

There are three more Eastman Summer Sings scheduled for the month of July. All take place at 7:30 p.m. in Kilbourn Hall. There is a suggested donation of $5.

Tuesday, July 11: Haydn: “Lord Nelson” Mass, conducted by William Weinert

Thursday, July 20: Mendelssohn: Elijah, led by Eastman Choral Institute Conductors

Tuesday, July 25: Vaughan Williams: Dona nobis pacem, conducted by Benjamin Johns