The Florida Southern Chamber Singers will perform their concert “Live the Questions” on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 7:30p.m. in the Branscomb Auditorium. Concertgoers will experience a profound setlist, as they are presented with music that asks them questions and challenges them.
The choir is led by Dr. Beth Gibbs, a professor with an abundance of experience and knowledge. She has a Bachelor of Music in Music Education, a Master of Music for Choral Conducting and Voice Performance and a Doctoral Degree of Musical Arts and Choral Conducting.
Gibbs was inspired through a piece by the composer Jake Runestad called “Live the Questions.” The piece pulls from a letter written by Rainer Rilke to a German soldier in 1903. Rilke urges the soldier not to rush to find answers, and alternatively decide to “live the questions.”
“The idea that one should not be afraid of living in uncertainty was intriguing to me,” Gibbs said. “I decided to build a concert on this concept and each piece we are performing asks a question or poses a predicament of one kind or another.”
Gibbs organized the concert into sets of pieces according to a certain type of question or challenge. The setlist covers varying topics that go from playful to devastating, and the languages are just as diverse.
“For this concert, we’ll be singing in Spanish, Yiddish, Haitian Creole, French, Turkish and the South African language of Zulu. Oh, and English,” Gibbs said.
Senior Music Education major Kara Stacy is a part of the ensemble, and she believes the concert will be enjoyable for listeners due to the range of musical styles and cultures.
“It is a concert which will have something for everyone and we are all so excited to present it,” Stacy said.
Stacy is premiering her piece “Shall I Compare Thee?” The text is taken from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 and is associated with romantic love. Stacy addresses the death of Shakespeare’s son around the time the sonnet was made, thus providing a new context to the sonnet and turning the text from a love song to a eulogy.
“My piece, “Shall I Compare Thee?”, is rooted in the questions we ask ourselves after losing a loved one, and is a much darker, and more mournful setting of the text,” Stacy said.
Gibbs is eager to pose questions to the audience on Tuesday. The questions she poses are ones that her and the ensemble have had all semester to dissect and learn from, so she’s excited to invite the audience into that searching environment.
Gibbs believes that experiencing live music itself is powerful and that choir music is unique because a group of people are able to relay a collective message through the help of text intentionally selected by composers.
“You can make an audience laugh or cry, and my hope in the case of this concert, to question,” Gibbs said. “Choral music can be tender, or loud and exciting, and this concert will have all of that and more.”