The concert was one of several annual performances that allow students, faculty, and staff involved in fine arts to display their talents for the University community. The theme for the night was fantasy, and the music featured included a variety of genres ranging from newer pieces such as “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri to classics such as “Nella Fantasia” by Ennio Morricone and Chiara Ferrau.
“The theme for the night morphed a bit over the summer,” said Cynthia Selph, Instructor of Music for the School of Arts and Sciences and the director of Saint Leo Singers and Just the FACTS. Selph went on to explain to the audience that over the course of the evening they would be hearing music that not only explored the concept of fantasy, but also communicated how tragedies in the world can intensify mankind’s need for a dose of fantasy in reality.
The Saint Leo Singers, an all student choral group, opened the concert with the choral suite from the Disney movie “Frozen,” a move that Selph admitted that she was unable to resist because of the concert’s fantasy concept. The group went on to sing “Nella Fantasia,” a choral arrangement of “Some Nights” by Fun, and “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.
Just the FACTS, a choral group featuring Saint Leo staff and faculty, sang “Alice in Wonderland” by Bob Hilliard and Sammy Fain and the movie classic “Over the Rainbow” by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg.
Other performances of the night included the Jazz Ensemble’s renditions “Footprint” by Wayne Shorter and “Watermelon Man” by Herbie Hancock, as well as the String Ensemble’s instrumental performance of “A Thousand Years.” The ensembles were directed by Mauricio Rodriguez and Kasia Dolinska respectively.
“Some Nights was the easiest song to learn, but it was the hardest to perform well,” Selph said.
She went on to explain that the “Frozen” choral suite was the hardest to learn. The singers, according to Selph, found it challenging to keep up with the constantly changing tempo and get back on track if one lost their place in the song because of its lack of words. But the hard work seemed to pay off, as several audience members stayed long enough after the concert to congratulate the performers on a job well done.
“I always enjoy these events. I believe the fine arts program embodies what Saint Leo is. It brings faculty, staff, and students of different skills together to make great music,” said Genny Feiler, senior.
Two memorable parts of the night incorporated video with the performances. A video compilation of recent world tragedies was played during “Some Nights,” acknowledging that harsh reality often threatens fantasy. The night ended with a public showing of an original video set to “Happy,” produced and edited by Jennifer Toole and Leo Vision. The video depicted Saint Leo University students, faculty, and staff dancing to the song, along with mascot Fritz.
The next big concert to be put on by the department is the annual Christmas concert, currently set for December.