Cornell orchestra, choirs perform May 2

The Cornell College Chamber Orchestra, Treble Choir, Chamber Singers, and Hilltop Harmony will be featured in a concert on Sunday, May 2, at 3 p.m. in the Mount Vernon High School Performing Arts Center. The concert is open to the public with limited seating and will be livestreamed on the Cornell Music Facebook page (see the recording).

Choir members rehearse for the May 2 concert.
Choir members rehearse for the May 2 concert.

The Chamber Orchestra will perform a variety of music including Mozart’s Divertimento in F, Balmages’ “Rhythm Dances,” and a transcription of Prelude and Fugue in D Minor attributed to J. S. Bach. The Chamber Orchestra is under the direction of Professor of Music Joe Dieker. Dieker is a well-known conductor, clarinetist, teacher, and administrator. After serving 10 years as the academic dean of Cornell College, he now serves as professor of music and music department chair. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Arizona State University.  

The Treble Choir and the Chamber Singers will lean heavily on music that features Middle Eastern stylings and performance practices. The Treble Choir will join forces with the String Orchestra to play a relatively new piece in the French language by Marie-Claire Saindon, “Méditations de la Vierge Marie.” Followed by that set, the Treble Choir will perform movements from a larger Middle Eastern work featuring viola and percussion, “Songs from Behind the Caravan: Songs of Hafez,” sung in Farsi to the text of 14th-century Persian poet Khwaja Hafez. 

The Chamber Singers will follow with a piece written in the Israeli style by American composer Eric Whitacre, “Five Hebrew Love Songs,” featuring mixed chorus with piano, violin, and percussion. The Chamber Singers will end with an American set from modern-day composers. The concert will close with Hilltop Harmony, led by students Emily Martyka and Calista Bergstrom, as they feature modern pop songs from the likes of fun. and Imagine Dragons.

Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Programs Christopher Nakielski is incredibly excited to be joining the Cornell family in his first year. He most recently worked at Washington State University for two years after earning his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting and pedagogy in 2018 under the tutelage of Drs. Timothy Stalter and David Puderbaugh. Prior to his enrolling at the University of Iowa, Nakielski received his B.A. from Ripon College in 2006, and his Master of Music Education degree from the VanderCook College of Music in 2009. After completing his degree at VanderCook, he directed choirs at college-preparatory school Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois, for six years. While at Loyola, Nakielski toured nationally and internationally, including to Italy, Poland, and the Czech Republic.