Hearing Rainbows with the Madrigal and MRT Singers

It's all about rainbows at the Madrigal Singers and Mad River Transit concert on Sunday May 1 in Fulkerson Recital Hall.

The Madrigal Singers perform music from a rainbow of nations and cultures, sometimes in combination. “It’s a very diverse range of music in four different languages, from Rachmaninoff to a Hawaiian piece, to a traditional Yiddish folk song, to a contemporary piece set to Native American poetry,” said conductor Rachel Samet.

“Bogoroditse Devo” is from “The All-Night Vigil,” an a cappella setting of a Russian Orthodox ceremonial text by Sergei Rachmaninoff. A history of Russian music published by the University of California in 2002 calls it Rachmaninoff’s finest achievement.

The text for “Grandmother Moon” is a poem by Mary Louise Martin that uses the language of the Mi’kmaq people of Canada’s Atlantic seacoast, with music by Eleanor Daley. It has been described as “tender” and “gorgeous.” Other selections include a Hawaiian hymn, a requiem by Texas folk singer Eliza Gilkyson, and a joyful tune taken from a Yiddish folk song and arranged by Joshua Jacobson.

The rainbow theme returns as the MRT jazz singers perform a program that is specifically colorful, with tunes including “Orange Colored Sky,” “When Sunny Gets Blue,” “The Pink Panther,” “Sweet Georgia Brown” and Ella Fitzgerald’s vibrant “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” (“A brown and yellow basket.”)

Both vocal groups combine for Craig Hella Johnson’s arrangement joining a 1970s Christian Rock song, “I Love You,” with Louis Armstrong’s 1967 hit, “What A Wonderful World.”

The HSU Madrigal Singers and MRT perform on Sunday May 1 at 8 p.m. in Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus. Tickets are $8, $5 seniors and children, free to HSU students with ID, from HSU Box Office (826-3928) or at the door. More information: http://HSUMusic.blogspot.com. Directed by Rachel Samet, produced by HSU Music department.