UWF Singers outline hope, peace in final concert of spring season

By Sydney O’Gwynn

Staff Writer

uwf singers

The UWF Singers and Chamber Choir were joined by the Pensacola Children’s Chorus in its final concert of the season, “A Prayer for Peace.”

The concert, held at First Baptist Church in downtown Pensacola on Monday, April 18, featured many popular songs, including “Imagine” by John Lennon and “Lux Arumque” by Eric Whitacre.

“All of those are forming a framework around the ‘Chichester Psalms,’ which Leonard Bernstein wrote as an American Jew lamenting the loss of life of the Holocaust,” Peter Steenblik, director of the UWF Singers and Chamber Choir, said.

“The Chichester Psalms” is a three-movement work in which each movement covers a specific psalm or set of psalms from The Bible. The first movement is from Psalm 108; the second is from Psalm 23 and Psalm 2; and the third movement is from Psalms 131 and 133.

“As they [The Pensacola Children’s Chorus] sing with the harp, it signifies King David and his harp, singing the psalms,” Steenblik said. “The women of the university group join the Children’s Chorus, signifying the mothers and the innocence, and at one point the men and the percussion come in and, essentially, start barking at them and destroy that innocence. They signify the government and the decisions that are made to destroy people of innocence.”

An organ solo in the middle of the piece can be interpreted as a time of mourning for the souls lost during the Holocaust. The movement ends with a prayer of encouragement and hope for unification and peace.

“It’s so ingenious how Bernstein put this all together, and it’s really fun to sing,” senior vocal performance major Rebekah Pyle said.

The program ended with a piece called “Hope for Resolution” arranged by Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory. The UWF Singers and the Children’s Chorus joined together for the final performance of the night.

This was the last performance for some singers at UWF, including Pyle.

“I’m a little sad because it’s over,” Pyle said. “But I’m also really glad to go out on a really good concert.”

The UWF Singers will have the concert posted on its website until May 8. For more information about the Department of Music, visit the website.