This article was written by Lexi Robinson, a PULSE contributor at The Concordian.
North Dakota State University’s Baroque Music festival began Nov. 5th with a chamber concert and will conclude on Dec. 11 with a performance of Kuhnau’s Magnificat at 2 p.m. in the Festival Concert Hall. Shiny, polished instruments held by students filled the narthex of Messiah Lutheran Church in Fargo as the student concert took place on Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. with performances from NDSU students both singing and accompanying with instruments seen during the Baroque period.
The Baroque era describes the music played in Europe during the years of 1600 until 1750.
“It was a wonderful period of transition between the Renaissance and Classical eras,” said Margaret Wollenzien, a freshman theatre major at Concordia. “I find it one of the most enjoyable and artistically free eras of musical repertoire to sing because of the freedom with ornamentation.”
Relating Baroque music to the music sung in the Cantabile choir, “Baroque music influences a lot of the musical styles that we sing in choir,” Wollenzien said.
This lively and upbeat music was performed in the sanctuary of Messiah Lutheran Church, with all twenty- eight pews full; an audience of all ages sat attentively as the students showed their passion for their music. Twelve different songs were performed with varying instrument accompanists, and the Baroque composers included Alessandro Scarlatti, J.S. Bach, Domenico Scarlatti, G.F. Handel and Francesco Durante.
The sounds rang through the sanctuary. NDSU student Wilson Schadauer listens to Baroque music while studying calculus and doing anthropology homework.
“The rhythms and the flow is enough background sound where I can focus on doing my school work,” he said. “The quick sounds from the instruments keep me alert and in a study mood.”
Baroque instruments are classified into three different categories: woodwinds, brasses and keyboards. One of those instruments is the harpsichord, an instrument where every time a key is pressed, a string is plucked. The concert also featured a saxophone, a flute, a trombone and an early piano from this time period resembling the fortepiano.
“Baroque music was some of the first classical music I played,” said freshman Sarah Campbell, a vocal performance major at Concordia, who began playing the piano when she turned nine.
“I was always told to sit up straight and concentrate on the rhythm and tone,” she said.
Black suits and dress shoes offered an essence of formality with the men who performed, and the black dresses, black tights and black heels delivered a sense of grace to the women. Black leather bond choir folders and polished instruments in hand, the performers walked up and down the aisles of the sanctuary ready to perform and eager to tell those still waiting to perform how they had done.