By Matthew Walters-Bowens
Music, like the aesthetic adoration of flowers, really is a universal language, and its beauty easily crosses cultural barriers.
This feeling contributed to the choice of title for the Westminster Choir’s recently released CD, Flower of Beauty. The first CD that solely presents the choir since it has been under Miller’s direction, the disc’s name is selected from a piece performed by the choir on the recording by composer John Clements.
“Flower of Beauty is one of those choral gems that I have known since conducting the piece with my high school choir,” Miller said. “It is the only piece that I know by Clements, but I have always been attached to the beautiful harmonic language and the loving and sincere poetic language.”
Musical beauty is not a luxury but a global necessity, and the choristers of Westminster Choir along with Miller greatly understand this.
“Making the world a more beautiful place is certainly a prime goal of the Westminster Choir, and recordings allow us to reach a broader audience,” said Miller, who also is chair of the Department of Conducting, Organ and Sacred Music.
Flower of Beauty is also the title of a performance to be held on Sunday, Nov. 15, at 3 p.m. in Bristol Chapel on the Westminster campus. Senior voice performance major Katie Matheson said that some songs from the Flower of Beauty CD, as well as many current pieces, would be performed. Her favorite piece on Flower of Beauty is Frank Martin’s “Sanctus et Benedictus.”
The universality of music comes from the triggered emotions of the listeners, according to singers such as Matheson. Certain music will fundamentally speak similarly to many people, even if they are from different backgrounds.
“This year in particular the performance will really leave everyone thinking at the end,” Matheson said. “The art is cathartic, [liberating] and really brings out deep emotions.”
Another Westminster Choir chorister, senior voice performance and music education major Chris Sierra, feels that the talent of the choir is especially extraordinary.
“The high caliber of musicianship is [other]-worldly and, as cliché as this may sound, what the choir creates is magical,” he said. “It is a rare chance to see a choir that really is a group of singing actors. Each person ministers to the audience, each person is needed.”
His favorite song is “I Would Live in Your Love,” by the 2009 Westminster graduate Nathan Jones.
Jones is the first Westminster graduate to have his music recorded and released on a CD featuring the Westminster Choir.
“The most important reason that someone should come to see the concert is for the opportunity to hear and see art created right before your eyes,” Jones said. “Dr. Miller’s performances are unique and are like still-shots of a moment in time.”
Flower of Beauty will be performed on Sunday, Nov. 15, at 3 p.m. in Bristol Chapel on the Westminster campus. Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. For ticket information, call the box office at 609-291-2663.