Muscat: The Muscat Singers finished their 2013-2014 season with a concert filled with sweet music, delighting their fans at the Bosch Centre for Performing Arts in Azaiba recently.
Their repertoire was very classical chorale music that highlighted the beauty of the human voice. The concert also featured appearances by the lively Muscat Brass and a new ensemble, the Muscat Chamber Choir.
The concert also marked the end of musical director Jason Drahos' time with the choir. He was a member of the concert for three years as a singer, and was the director for the past year.
"It's been fantastic! One of my favourite moments is when we are done with a big piece and there is a look of satisfaction on their faces. It's been nice to hear that full sound and see that they enjoy what they do," he told the Times of Oman after the concert.
For his last concert in Muscat, Drahos chose a number of rather melancholic songs. Though beautiful, pieces such as Dan Forrest's Requiem for the Living hinted at loss and grief.
It seemed like a reflection on that madness in the world and a prayer for solace and relief. It also featured the angelic voices of two young sisters, Emma and Arianna Slupik, whose mother is part of the choir.
"I'm leaving Muscat this year and even though I didn't mean it to come off that way, it was very much at the back of my mind. This is my last concert in Muscat, my last concert with them, and I'm sure that was part of my picking. But within that melancholy, there was a lot of hope," he explained, adding that he had also included the cheerful tune Hope is the Thing with Feathers.
Changing the mood with their upbeat tunes, the Muscat Brass, a 13-member brass band, brought the joyful sounds of the swinging 1920s to the stage. Their toe-tapping rhythms included classics like Irving Berlin's Puttin' on the Ritz and the sweet lullaby Somewhere Over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz. They also performed a brass version of the current Pharrell Williams hit Happy, which elicited loud cheers from the audience.
Last fall, a new choral group, the Muscat Chamber Choir, was formed, featuring seven singers. They performed four songs, all a cappella, or without instrumental accompaniments. While each selection showcased their talents, the standout was the gospel song Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen, which was a very cool interpretation.
Drahos's choices of very classical chorale repertoire for the Muscat Singers, such as the Latin piece Cantate Domino (Sing to the Lord), and The Pasture, a romantic dialogue between two young lovers, represented Jason's musical background and were pieces he really likes.
"I wanted the last concert in Muscat to be something I really enjoyed doing," he said.
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