Rivalry to a different tune: Joint concert allows harmony between U, BYU choirs

By By Davey Davis

By Davey Davis

The U and Brigham Young University came together in the arena-not to compete, but to harmonize, last Wednesday.

Three of the U’s choirs and two from BYU joined to perform the 12th Annual Combined Christmas Concert at Libby Gardner Hall, accompanied by the U Harp Ensemble.

“It was great to see the two universities invite each other to collaborate, to share and build each other’s programs,” Reed Hodson, a U alumnus, said.

Katie Danner, a freshman in journalism at Salt Lake Community College, compared the performance to a football game.

“Most schools get together to breed violence and tension, while the choir makes more of a harmony,” she said. “It was refreshing to see music interact this way.”

Anthony Buck, who performed in the duet “Gloria” and is a senior majoring in music, said the competitive angle of the rivalry between the two schools was hard to ignore completely.

“Of course there is some competition and natural comparison when two schools are side by side,” he said. “It is a chance to show one’s strengths, but it was a well-mannered event. The chorus performs one of the closest things to prayer-all the voices are joined in one thought. That, in part, unifies the singers.”

Though mainly a vocal concert, 12 harps, a piano, five guitars and hand bells accompanied the chorus.

“It was kind of difficult to play the harp accompanying a choir of this size,” said Debi Weixler, one of four harpists in the ensemble not attending the U. “We were getting new things thrown at us every minute, but we just played along. The collaboration worked out great.”

The audience and the stage were both overflowing with more than 250 performers rotating in and out between numbers under the cover of organ interludes played by Kenneth Udy.

“A chorus is usually logistically much simpler to move around,” Buck said. “But with this many performers and so many harps on stage, things can get complex.”

Weixler said it worked seamlessly for the amount of preparation time the choir had.

Audience members said they found the size and skill of the combined chorus came together well to create a stunning performance.

“The acoustics and harmonies blended really well; the concert was glorious,” Anne Johansen, a sophomore music major, said. “Everyone was really in tune, and with this many performers, that is so powerful.”

The U performed its Christmas Concert without BYU on Dec. 4 at Libby Gardner Hall.

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