Cardinal Chorale, Cardinal Singers perform ‘Cantate Domino’

By Renee Muniz


Nearly 100 singers came together Nov. 13 to sing unto the Lord – “Cantate Domino.”

UIW’s Cardinal Chorale and Cardinal Singers gave their first concert of the semester in the Chapel of the Incarnate Word.

The singers are all part of the Cardinal Chorale class that meets three times a week, led by choir director William Gokelman.

“Each semester we start with a group that is a combination of repeat students and first-time choir members,” said Gokelman.

Due to all the unfamiliar faces, first-year Chorale member Noah Slavin said he did not know what to expect from this performance. But his doubts were put to rest thanks to the leadership of the singing group, he said.

“Mr. Gokelman — he’s a wizard,” Slavin said. “He knows how to bring out the best in everyone. Like me, I’m relatively new to singing and just him giving the tips and tricks, you just want to do your best for him because he’s such an amazing guy. He really cares about each individual student, and he really cares about the whole performance and molding you as a singer. It wasn’t hard for all of us to come together, and eventually give this performance because everyone came together for the common good of making beautiful music.”

Gokelman, who has conducted UIW’s choir for 24 years, said he was very pleased with the concert, and even more pleased by the students’ ability to “create a beautiful choral sound in just a couple of months.”

Ruben Delgadillo, father of freshman chorale singer Ruben “R.J.” Delgadillo, Jr., said he was also astounded to hear their sound after only a few months.

After seeing his son sing in concert for the first time, Delgadillo said he realized his son was receiving the “right instruction” to help him further his musical education and he knew he made the right choice in allowing his son to attend UIW.

Isabel Vargas said she came to support her granddaughter, Cynthia Rael, who has sung in many Chorale concerts before. Vargas said it is Rael’s last year in the Chorale, which made the concert even more special for the grandmother and the entire family.

Sociology major Ashley Vasquez said she came to the concert to support her friend, Victoria Gutierrez, who was singing in the Chorale. Vasquez, who has been to Chorale concerts prior to this one, said she likes UIW’s choir concerts because “they’re all enjoyable, they’re all different in their own way, but I always enjoy them.”

Sky Daniels said she’s a friend of Gokelman’s who comes to Chorale concerts as often as possible. Besides the singing, she said, she enjoys Gokelman’s composing. She sees the concerts as “spiritually nourishing” and this one especially as it was held in what’s called the Motherhouse Chapel.

One of the unique elements of the concert was during the traditional Nigerian song, “Oba Ti De (Here Comes the King),” when Estevan Barrientez and Jacob Bissell played percussion along with pianist Ara Koh. Cardinal Singers Peter Fredsholm, Brandon Bulls and Tabitha Hoxie began the song with confident solos from opposite ends of the chapel. Audience members turned their heads to find the graceful voices, and some nodded their heads to the beat of the song.

“Oba Ti De” was one of the favorites among Chorale members. They got a chance to perform the number again Nov. 19 for “Light the Way.”

The Cardinal Chorale and Cardinal Singers join forces for one concert each semester – this semester being “Cantate Domino.”

Chorale members are now rehearsing for their performance in New York’s Lincoln Center this spring. Chorale members also have the opportunity to take their talents to the next level and become a Cardinal Singer. Cardinal Singers perform for special occasions on campus, along with performing for the San Antonio community during the holidays. The privileges come with hard work, however, as the Cardinal Singers rehearse five times a week, including practices with the Cardinal Chorale.

Both classes, Cardinal Chorale and Cardinal Singers, are taught by Gokelman, who said he witnesses “each choir becomes its own family, a group of disparate individuals, with hugely varying background and abilities, that unites to create beautiful works of art. This, ultimately, is the greatest purpose of any choir, and the driving force behind every concert.”

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