For the first time in recent memory, the Davis & Elkins College Concert Choir is made up solely of females and that anomaly has led them to an elite recognition. One of the pieces they will perform virtually this spring will be dedicated in their honor.
Composer Joseph “Joe” Martin recently announced that he will dedicate “A Prayer for Healing” to the Spring 2021 Davis & Elkins College Choir under the direction of Liz Marshall-MacVean. The choir will perform the piece in April for a Presbytery-wide D&E Sunday Celebration and for their spring concert. Both events will be presented virtually.
While planning for the upcoming production, Marshall-MacVean searched for musical selections written specifically for the COVID-19 pandemic, ones that would evoke feelings of hope and healing. Two pieces, “A Prayer for Healing” and “The Awakening” both by Martin, proved a perfect match.
Because the voices are all soprano, Marshall-MacVean needed a special arrangement of “A Prayer for Healing.” Martin agreed to meet the choir in a special virtual session where he delivered the surprise.
“He specifically wrote this arrangement for a ladies ensemble and since we were the first to ask for such an arrangement, he wanted to give a dedication sentence in the publication process to us,” Marshall-MacVean explained.
Martin wrote “A Prayer for Healing” as a song of spiritual and physical wellness that speaks to many moments of need. The choir’s second piece, “The Awakening,” is what Martin calls his claim to fame. Although it was written several years ago, Martin says it is relevant to today’s world.
“We were all thrilled at the announcement of the dedication during our Zoom interview with Mr. Martin,” Marshall-MacVean said. “As the choir reflected on our time and interview with Mr. Martin, we all agreed we could sit and listen to him speak of his music for hours. He is so passionate, writing his own lyrics and music for such a time as this. Music has indeed been in a frozen state for a year now with not being able to perform live. We have all learned so much as a virtual choir and how to keep our music alive. Our goal is to deliver our virtual performance with as much passion and encouragement for healing as Mr. Martin intended the pieces to be performed.”
Ironically, the choir performed Martin’s “Living Hope” in early 2020 in Winchester, Virginia. It was their last live performance. At the end of the fall 2020 semester, the choir made its virtual debut with two selections released for the holiday season.
The Choir is accompanied by Donna Baroudi Huffman. Members of the spring 2021 Davis & Elkins College Concert Choir are Destiny Brown of Elkins, Jennifer Harmon of Elkins, Emma Hicks of Buckhannon, Megan Huffnagel of Elkins, Jennifer Lantz of Bunker Hill, Lavania Lemasters of Stonewood, Natasha MacKey of Rock Cave, Emma McDougal of Elkins, Kyia McGill of Buckhannon, Aliyah Plum of Elkins, Anna Ruf of Belington, Liliana Sigley of Elkins, Melody Smith of Fairmont, Jessica Walton of Dunmore, Emma Watson of Beverly and Harmony Wilson of Elkins.