On March 12, Cal Poly’s PolyPhonics and Chamber Choir will be performing in a winter showcase called “To the Hands.” This production is different than previous productions because it will also involve participation from students in the Theatre and Dance department and from the Liberal Arts in Engineering Program (LAES) to address homelessness and the presence of political refugees.
Among other songs, the Chamber Choir will be performing a piece by Baroque composer Buxtehude. PolyPhonics will be presenting a modern commentary on this Baroque piece that is called “To the Hands” by Caroline Shaw in which all members of the choir will have solos featured.
Throughout these pieces, students from the dance department will be presenting a dance choreographed by Cal Poly dance professor Diana Stanton. There will also be complimentary projections facilitated by students from LAES.
In the past, Cal Poly choral shows have tended to be smaller and lacked collaboration with students from other majors. Yet, with the new additions to “Two the Hands,” members of the choir program are hopeful that it might expedite a long-lasting shift in their show productions.
Music junior Danna Dumandan, a member of both choirs and the Social Activities Chair, is especially optimistic.
“Something like collaborating with others and communicating a story, communicating these statistics through different art forms can really make an impact on someone and can really make an impact on the audience,” Dumandan said. “I really hope they can see the importance of what we’re talking about.”
While the format of the concert is constructed to contribute to its memorability, there is also hope that the combination of the chosen music and the use of visuals will help raise awareness about the social dilemmas they feature.
“As always, our goal is musical excellence and to move the hearts and minds of the audience through this,” Director of Choral Activities Scott Glysson said. “In this case, the goal is also to highlight the question in all of our minds ‘How have we contributed to the wounds of the world?’”
The stage in the Performing Arts Center will have three tiers of risers for each of the various components of the performance. The first tier will have the orchestra, where professional Cal Poly faculty will be playing instruments including strings and harps. Behind this, the second tier will be for the dancers and the third will be for the choirs.
To accompany the movement of the dancers, the two choirs will also be directly incorporating movement into their performance. Dumandan acknowledges that it may seem overwhelming, but there’s a much greater significance behind these choices that “needs to be talked about.”
“It’s very chaotic movement but I think that that’s what makes it so monumental and so important,” Dumandan said, “You can just hear these numbers going up and up and up as time goes on and it just says a lot about where our country is right now and where the world is right now.”
Tickets for this concert can be purchased on the PAC website.