It was nearly show time. Row after row of maroon-cushioned seats surrounded NJPAC’s Prudential Hall. The seats filled up quickly, with people of all ages and backgrounds gathering on the night of Oct. 27 for a show dedicated to advocates of peace and unity.
The show, “Prayer for Peace: The Power of One Voice,” is a classical music concert devoted to peace and unity, organized by Dr. Andrea Bartoli, Dean of the School of Diplomacy and International Relations, and conducted by Jason Tramm, assistant professor and director of Choral Activities.
“Music has the ability to unite and inspire,” Tramm said, referring to the show’s central theme.
A roar of applause greeted Tramm as he walked onto the stage. He took a bow then stepped onto a stool; the applause stopped and he turned to face the orchestra. Holding a baton in his right hand, he lifted it slowly; the violins and cellos breaking the silence in the room.
The Seton Hall chorus, along with members of the University community, stood in five rows behind the MidAtlantic Opera Orchestra, where their voices echoed throughout the concert hall, flooding the air singing Moshe Knoll’s “Psalm 133.”
One of the final performances of the night was Arnold Schoenberg’s “A Survivor from Warsaw” paired with Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Opus 125.
“I really liked the choice of music that [Tramm} put for the program,” said Chad Navarro, a senior nursing major with a minor in musical theatre. Inspired by Beethoven’s struggle as a deaf composer, Navarro was delighted to see it live and see the theme translate itself into his last and final symphony.
Tramm, tying the pieces into the theme of the show, curated each song performed. He explained how every song in some way reflected peace and unity, but also shed new light on the more familiar pieces, such as Schoenberg’s “A Survivor from Warsaw” and Beethoven’s ninth symphony.
“A Survivor from Warsaw” began both dramatically and ominously, leading into theatrical narration by veteran actor Jordan Charney.
“The ‘Survivor from Warsaw’ I thought was incredible because I’ve never heard a classical piece like that,” said Kevin Phalon, a Seton Hall alumnus. “It was the voiceovers that told the story with the music. It was very cinematic without being visual, so I thought that was really good.”
The show also united many names of the musical world such as violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins, also known as the Fiddler on Broadway’s “Fiddler on the Roof,” and Allison Charney, an opera singer known for curating the classical concert series, “PREformances with Allison Charney.”
According to Daniel Nugent, assistant vice president of Advancement Services, the blend of various musicians who shared the stage that night, in some way or another, showed that music has an ability to bring Seton Hall together.
“I think this concert was a tremendous night for Seton Hall.” Nugent said. “I think it was a great way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the school of diplomacy. It was a nice opportunity for students and alumni, parents and faculty and staff and supporters of the school to come together and just celebrate.”
Marianne-Grace Datu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.