Manchester homecoming concert photo
The Jazz Ensemble, led by Dr. Scott Humphries, performed in Cordier Auditorium during the concert.
Photo by Manchester Music Department

Choir, Jazz Ensemble Perform at 2021 Homecoming Concert

Rocco Hanes

It is that time of year again: the leaves begin to change, the air gets a little colder and alums return to campus for Homecoming. The week full of events brought together current and past students to connect with professors and former classmates, cheer during a winning football game and listen to music. On Friday, October 8, the Manchester Music Department put on its annual Homecoming Concert in Cordier Auditorium, where the house acoustics invited voices to soar.

With COVID protections in place, those who attended the concert heard a wonderful collaboration between the A cappella choir, Chamber Singers and the Jazz Ensemble. The A Cappella choir consists of about 40 students and is the largest mixed-gender choir at the university. The Chamber Singers is a smaller set of students who are auditioned from the A Cappella choir. Both groups of singers were under the lead of Dr. Debra Lynn, the director of vocal studies and department chair.

Alongside the performance of the singers, the Jazz Ensemble played wonderfully under the lead of Dr. Scott Humphries, the director of bands and music education. Another feature in the show was junior vocal performance major, Mason Kniola, who was the student conductor.

Before the event began, Kniola was very excited, as this was his first concert as  the student conductor. He was offered the position last year to conduct the choir for the entire 2021-2022 school year. Kniola has a multitude of responsibilities as the student conductor, but his main role is to work with the ensemble to help create art through the music.

In this concert he worked with the A Capella choir to perform a piece of music. “I find it both incredible and terrifying to have the ability to wave my arms around and people in an ensemble will follow what I am doing in their playing,” Kniola said with a smile.

He is continuing to work on learning the requirements and having the experiences to conduct an ensemble. “It is a very hands-on, throw-you-in-the-deep-end-of-the-pool kind of experience,” Kniola said. In yet another role as the student conductor, he can fill in for the main director, Dr. Debra Lynn.

His favorite part of the concerts is when Manchester students come to support the musicians and their peers. “Personally, I think it is the coolest thing ever” Kniola said.

Together with the Chamber Singers, the A Cappella Choir performed an exhilarating choral repertoire. Too, the Jazz Ensemble played a wide variety of songs. All in all, the Manchester Music Department put on a terrific show for all those who attended. Although donations were accepted, the general admission for the concert attendees was free. Mask and social distancing were in effect.