Festival Highlights Two Ramapo Vocal Groups

The International Vocal Festival took place on Saturday at Ramapo at both 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the H-Wing auditorium. The event opened with Ramapo’s Skylark Vocalists at the earlier time of 4 p.m. and CantaNova later at 8 p.m. 

Lisa Lutter, director of the ensemble, proudly introduced the Skylark Vocalists. When the group began, the crowd went silent. In the later performance, CantaNova sang “Mckay,” an Appalachian song from the 1700s, as well as “Now Sleep the Crimson Petal” and “Comin’ Round the Mountain.”

CantaNova was followed by Take12. The group of 11 male students sang “I Have Had Singing” and “Galbally Farmer.”

Jasmine Ramos-Ortiz, a junior biology major said, “They sound really great; I was not expecting this.”

According to Ramos-Ortiz, the Ramapo Chorale is not very well-known around campus.

“More students should come out and support them,” she said. “Students do not seem to know about how good they are and what they are capable of.”

Dina D’Anthoni, an environmental science major and a first-year Ramapo student, came to support friends at both the first and last showing.

“The Ramapo Chorale are really good and deserve to be known,” D’Anthoni said.

D’Anthoni was accompanied by Brendan Bucciarelli, a history major and first-year student, at the CantaNova performance. Bucciarelli also came to support friends that he said were in the Chorale.

“I did not get a chance to make the first showing,” said Bucciarelli. “It is my first time seeing them, and I am impressed.”

In the past five years, the Ramapo Chorale ensemble has performed in locations such as Costa Rica, Guam, the Philippines, Prague and Russia.

Lutter, who directed the Skylark ensemble, is the associate professor of vocal music performance here at Ramapo. According to her, the groups had only six weeks to prepare for the festival.

Countermeasure, a Canadian a capella group comprised of 14 members, graced the stage after the Ramapo ensemble. The group had a modern feel mixed with a jazz influence. They sang songs that the audience was familiar with and put their own spin on it.

“They sound like something out of ‘Glee,'” said Ramos-Ortiz.

Countermeasure was led by Aaron Jensen, an award-winning composer and vocalist. According to Jensen, the group is in the progress of recording and debuting their first album.

Countermeasure has performed in jazz festivals and shared the stage with many other great vocalists. The group has been on CBC, Rogers, City TV, Breakfast Television and Global.

The audience was visibly impressed by the festival and it proved to be a night of beautiful voices and diverse music.