Music lovers are in for a bountiful treat with the release of six CDs of music by the HWS Colleges Chorale and Cantori, directed by Professor of Music Robert Cowles. The CDs are available for sale in the College Store.
The CDs cover repertoire for the groups from 2010 until 2016 (with the exception of 2014-15, when Cowles was a Fulbright Scholar in Finland). “Each spring, we hold recording sessions following our annual tour. That material is contained on these CDs,” says Cowles.
The Hobart and William Smith Colleges Chorale is a mixed ensemble comprising the finest student vocal talent on campus. The 35-voice group performs a wide range of a cappella choral literature. Cantori is a smaller, 16-voice group made up of members of the larger Chorale.
“We cover a wide variety of musical styles — anything from medieval to present day,” says Cowles. “We have a commissioned work on each CD and often a sampling of world music.”
In addition to a formal concert at the end of each term, the Colleges Chorale performs at campus events throughout the year. Each spring the group takes a four-day tour. Recent tour destinations have included Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. In April 2017 the group will tour to Washington, D.C. In May members of the ensemble will take an historic tour to Havana, Cuba to participate in an international choral festival.
Cowles, who is chair of the Department of Music, has directed the choral ensembles and taught music theory and conducting since 1992. He is also artistic director of Seneca Camerata, a semi-professional chamber choir. Cowles served for nearly two decades as artistic director of the Syracuse Vocal Ensemble, which under his leadership garnered a reputation for innovative programming and superb choral artistry.
Covers for the six CDs were created by Sarah Kirchoff ’06, who sang with the Chorale during her four years at HWS. Now a creative services senior project manager at the University of Rochester, she chose non-representational graphics for each cover that evoke the sense of the music. “I found that the images I produced ended up feeling comfortable and familiar,” she says, “but also, they became more than just the everyday objects from which they are composed.”