The Seton Hall University touring choir, in collaboration with the MidAtlantic Opera, will perform at the Stern Auditorium/ Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall on Oct. 17.
The concert, starting at 8 p.m., titled “A Prayer for Peace” will be directed by Jason Tramm, director of Seton Hall choral activities, artistic director for MidAtlantic Opera, and Seton Hall assistant professor in the College of Communication and the Arts. Onethird of the concert profits will go to the United Nations’ charity for Syrian refugees.
Tramm first brought the idea to Dean Andrea Bartoli of the School of Diplomacy and International Relations and Dean Deirdre Yates of the College of Communication and the Arts. “Both have been huge supporters from the beginning and a pleasure to work with,” Tramm said.
The concert, performed by over 100 SHU students, alumni, faculty and staff, includes selections representing the three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The composers “foster dialogue between different religions and faiths” and the music reflects conflicts of violence and peace, Tramm said.
“Dona Nobis Pacem”, by British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, includes texts from mass and poems by Walt Whitman. The combination of biblical verses and anti-war poetry portrays the “timeless view of a prayer for peace” that the concert is promoting, Tramm said.
Musical pieces for the concert were selected to engage, inspire, and dig into the issue of peace that is still alive today.
“Art is a natural means of communications and it’s a language of its own that breaks down boundaries,” Tramm said.
The mission behind the concert is to demonstrate how music is a dialogue between different people to achieve the same goal. “It’s music with a social mission,” Tramm said. In an interview with the SHU student-run monthly publication The Diplomatic Envoy, Dean Bartoli said that “there is no doubt in my mind that there is in fact a very tight connection between any peace process and the artistic performance and creative act.”
The meaning of the concert has impacted both students and faculty as they hope to spread the message of peace.
Aaron Geusic, music education freshman and member of the Seton Hall choir, was very excited when he found out they would be performing at Carnegie Hall.
“A Prayer for Peace means a lot to me, not just the show and the fact that a good amount of the proceeds will be going to help Syrian refugees, but the fact that it is promoting peace using music from Muslim, Jewish, and Christian religions,” Aaron said. “Peace is an important aspect of life no matter who you are or where you come from.”
Devin McGuire, senior music and special education major, said “I can’t remember the last time the University choir has performed in a venue of this caliber,” he said. “It’s going to be humbling to know I’ll be performing on the same stage as such iconic figures to know I’ll be performing on the same stage as such iconic figures from Tchaikovsky, to The Beatles, to Eric Whitacre. It’s a responsibility we take seriously.”
Michael MacRae, freshman business major, said this concert will be the first time he has performed in a choir setting.
“It means an opportunity to influence people with the sounds of a professional vocal arrangement. History has shown that people are more influenced when they are impacted mentally and emotionally,” MacRae said.
With a 60-piece orchestra and 100 people singing, Tramm said that this is one of the biggest musical performances Seton Hall has ever participated in. The students have a lot of energy and are excited, and Tramm says that this “music with a mission” is a direct representation of the servant leader that Seton Hall promotes.
Dean Bartoli said, “For us to go to Carnegie Hall and experience these pieces that were written as a response to violence is a way to reaffirm the commitments of students, faculty, administration, and alumni that peace is a human construct and at the same time it is something we need to constantly serve.”
Daniela Geraldo can be reached at email@example.com.