Community Choir and Portal Percussion perform Music for Everyone

Luke Helker
Staff Writer

Keeping the tradition of First Friday alive, downtown Lancaster city was bustling with with people for a night of open art galleries and many musical performances. It’s the one night of the month in which the arts district of Lancaster can truly be celebrated and it is always the highlight of the month. One such notable musical performance was hosted by Music for Everyone and featured the Music For Everyone Community Choir and Portal Percussion.

This event took place in Lancaster’s newest performing arts center, the Trust Performing Arts Center. The Trust Center is conveniently located next to the Lancaster Dispensing Company and across from the Ware Center, MU’s satellite graduate campus and performing arts center. Originally constructed as a bank in the early 1900s, the Trust Company has been redesigned as a new performance center and will be continuing to improve its infrastructure over the course of the next couple of months.

Rich Klimowicz, Matt Bracciante and Brian Doherty of Portal Percussion performed at First Friday.

Rich Klimowicz, Matt Bracciante and Brian Doherty of Portal Percussion performed at First Friday.

With its high ceiling and ornate architecture, the Trust Center proved to be the perfect venue for Friday night’s choral and percussive performances. Portal Percussion, comprised of former MU music students Matt Bracciante, Brian Doherty, and Rich Klimowicz, opened up the show performing a piece of modern percussion literature Their pinpoint accuracy combined with the bombastic nature of the piece got the evening off with a literal bang.

From there, the MFE choir processed in and performed a number of religious pieces. Most of these selections were of Jewish or African heritage and together made for a very well-round set. The MFE choir, lead by AJ Walker, is an all-ages, non-auditioned choir based in Lancaster, PA. They have recently been performing international works from rote.

Community Choir and Portal Percussion performed at the Trust Performing Arts Center for the Music for Everyone sponsored event, “The Festival of Voices.”

Community Choir and Portal Percussion performed at the Trust Performing Arts Center for the Music for Everyone sponsored event, “The Festival of Voices.”

Just before intermission, Portal Percussion returned to play another number in which all three members played a high energy mallet piece that turned out to be a real crowd-pleaser. The members of Portal also accompanied the choir, providing ambient soundscapes and extra percussive textures on some of the choral pieces including a piece called “Gabaq an.” This selection is especially unique because it is a modern Filipino choral interpretation of Stravinsky’s groundbreaking “Rite of Spring.” Another unique number was “Hanaq Pachap,” the first polyphonic choral piece ever produced from Latin America.

Additionally, the choir performed a piece called “Rise” that was actually composed by AJ Walker himself. With its beautifully open and pastoral sound, one could have easily mistaken it for an Eric Whitacre piece. Walker also arranged most of the numbers on the program including “Idumea-Angelus” from the “Sacred Harp.”

Overall it was a very well executed show and the audience displayed their satisfaction with a standing ovation. Quite the boost for this new performance venue and these performing ensembles. “I thought the concert went really well, and the collaboration with Portal Percussion was a huge success…” Walker said after the concert. “…I was so pleased to be able to perform with them, and I look forward to our collaboration at the Festival of Voices.”

The Festival of Voices is an MFE sponsored event that celebrates and showcases choirs from around the community and region. It will take place March 28th at 6pm at the First Presbyterian Church on Orange St. in downtown Lancaster.

For more information, visit http://www.musicforeveryone.net.

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