The Tougaloo College Concert Choir
on campus at Woodworth Chapel, Dec 4, 2016
The choir (at right, from 2006) opened with a solid performance
of Bach's Cantata BWV140 "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme"
("Wake, Awake, the Voice Calls Us").
with accompanist Janet Sudderth at the piano, Tremaine Ford (tenor),
Bianca Jackso (soprano), and Laurence Albert (bass/baritone). It was
in the opening chorus that the choir set the stage for a passionate
performance. There was a tenor recitative, a soprano-bass duet, a
second chorus with the cantata title "Wachet auf" (which Bach himself
also transcribed into the well-known choral prelude with the same
name) a second duet, and the closing chorus. The cantata was sung
quite successfully in the original German.
The versatility of the choir was shown by the shift to various
arrangements of spirituals and related songs including "Hark, I Hear
the Harps Eternal", "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need", "Some Children
See Him", "Daniel, Daniel, Servant of the Lord", "I'll Never
Turn Back No 'Mo", I Thank You, Jesus", and "O Lord, Have Mercy".
All of these were sung without accompaniment, and with enthusiasm
which often demonstrated the vocal power of this group.
A smaller ensemble sang Smalls "Home", directed by choir member
Noah Martin, and the concert was closed by a women's ensemble,
with pianist Henry Young, singing two works in gospel/jazz style:
"Emmanuel" and "I'm Looking for a Miracle". Soloists in the second
part included Kriston Gordon (soprano), Corron Hughes (alto) and
Robert Jennings (bass).
Our thanks to Director Kathy Castilla for preparing this stirring
program, and in particular for the chance to hear this larger Bach
work. The Bach cantatas are not often heard here, and the famous
passions (Sts. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) have never been
performed here so far as I can tell, although I could be wrong.
We also thank Tougaloo College for supporting this presentation
for the benefit of the community.
- Glenn A. Gentry