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Cougars & Mustangs



The life force of the Earth and all its living creatures becomes vapor, collecting into a mighty cloud both indistinguishable from the truth of our world and yet strikingly unprejudiced to any single droplet of its essence. Rivalries, class differences, opposite opinions—these all clash, and yet the power and might of each just separates us all once again. As we fiercely plummet into freefall, the horror of separation from those we didn’t realize we care about is all that we can think of until the ground embraces what’s left of us in its seismic body bag and shifts away.

The combined force of what we can all do together is great. It’s something we must never forget, but we do nonetheless. And it’s this idea, I think, that fuels Cal Poly’s Water Works choir concert set for Feb. 23 at the Cal Poly Performing Arts Center. Featuring not only the talent of Cal Poly’s Choirs, but also Paul Hondorp, director of choral activities at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky; and the Cuesta College Chamber Singers, this is an event of collaboration featuring a theme of water and its impact on the world. In addition to the individual group performances, combined works will be presented. From “I Gondolieri,” a song of gondoliers by Gioachino Rossini, conducted by Hondorp; to spiritual “Deep River,” conducted by Cuesta Chamber Singer’s conductor, John Knutson; to the magnificent “Cloudburst” by popular classical composer Eric Whitacre, conducted by Thomas Davies of Cal Poly, it will be an unforgettable evening.

Though common sense tells me to tell you that much and leave be, I cannot. Though every performance and group will certainly be entertaining, it’s my firm belief that the concert is worth attending even if simply to see “Cloudburst.” I’ll admit that as a member of the Cuesta Chamber Singers myself, I have a certain bias, but even were I not in the concert I would still say this. “Cloudburst” is a piece that can be described as thrilling, as well as soothing. It is a piece in which modern, dissonant chords create a heavy atmosphere that is mystifying rather than frightening. It is a piece based on an absolutely gorgeous poem by Octavio Paz. But most importantly, it is a piece in which the large choir performing it uses their voices, hands, and certain instruments to simulate the sound of a heavy rainstorm. It is magnificent, unforgettable, and just one reason why the works of Eric Whitacre, rockstar of the classical music world, hold such high acclaim.

This is going to be a concert to remember. Tickets cost $12 and $14 for the public and $9 and $12 for senior citizens and students. Tickets can be purchased at the Performing Arts Center ticket office between noon and 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The concert begins at 8 p.m.

Intern Chris White-Sanborn is yet another droplet racing down your window. Did you hope he would make it down first, or his sibling? Send your collegiate news to [email protected].

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