UCI Vocal Arts students pay tribute to the lives lost to Covid-19

The UCI Chamber Singers in Fall 2019 (photo by Jeanine Hill)

On June 6, 2020, the UCI Chamber Singers released a virtual choral performance of “Unclouded Day,” an old American folk song, newly arranged by renowned composer Shawn Kirchner. Dr. Irene Messoloras, Choir Director at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, conducted the virtual performance, featuring 30 UCI students and Kirchner on piano. The song, a gospel favorite, demonstrated the extraordinary range of UCI vocal students and paid tribute to the lives lost to Covid-19.

The UCI Department of Music strives to offer students unparalleled experiences with stellar musicians, whose career trajectories are model examples of professional success. Therefore, it was quite a windfall to have Shawn Kirchner share his composition and accompaniment with the UCI Chamber Singers, especially at a time when musical instruction faces unprecedented challenges.

Kirchner is active in Los Angeles’s professional music scene. He is a member of the Los Angeles Master Chorale and regularly sings with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Disney Hall and at the Hollywood Bowl. His past collaborations include the world's leading conductors and composers. Kirchner's list of TV/Film credits includes musical direction and arrangement for the 2004 CBS Christmas Eve special Enter the Light of Life and singing on more than two dozen recent feature film soundtracks, including Avatar, Frozen, The Lorax, Horton Hears a Who, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: First Class, Lady in the Water, and License to Wed.

Remote learning significantly challenges the nature of musical instruction. The intrinsic lag of live audio through video conferencing disrupts the possibility of real-time collaboration. The production of the virtual performance for “Unclouded Day” involved extensive coordination on the part of Messoloras, Kirchner, and each chamber singer to compile over 30 individual recordings. The video came together, through hard work and ardent voices, as an uplifting dedication to those who have passed due to Covid-19.

As the necessity of remote learning continues, the music department is exploring new methods for practicing and performing digitally. The department is dedicated to offering rich remote learning experiences with illustrious music professionals until students can safely sing together again. However, this will require investments in advanced software and hardware on the part of both students and faculty. Upgrades will require an increase of support from those who have a stake in the musical futures of our students. Join us today by making a gift and help ensure the voices of UCI Music students continue to be heard.

Song Credits
Composed by: Shawn Kirchner
Lyrics: Josiah K. Alwood
Choir: UCI Chamber Singers
Conductor: Dr. Irene Messoloras
Accompanied by: Shawn Kirchner
Edited by: Purple Critter Media

Posted Date: 
Monday, June 8, 2020