Last night Husband and I attended the local college Christmas concert featuring the band, choruses, community Choral Union, and a small string group from Bismarck. The highlight of the concert was Handel’s Messiah. It was wonderful.
Our college music department had a good reputation but fell on hard times a few years ago. They have repopulated the faculty with some really fine teachers. We also have a strong city music community, and are blessed with very fine community vocalists and musicians.
The concert was not held in the cavernous college auditorium, but in a terrific space with to-die-for acoustics. I refer to the Abbey Church connected to a Benedictine Abbey 20 miles to the east of us. You can see part of the ceiling in the header photo. The church was built in 1906-1910 in the Bavarian Romanesque style. They have a new pipe organ.
The sound was especially gorgeous for O magnum mysterium, a choral piece published in 1572 by Tomas Luis de Victoria. The church provided just the right acoustic space that the piece was written for. Look at the header photo and imagine how the sound goes up, fills the church, and then circles back to listeners’ ears from those round ceiling sections.
I remember when I was in the Concordia College concert band we had to play inside an enormous, concrete, sugar beet warehouse for the warehouse dedication in Moorhead, MN. We played a Sousa march, and the place echoed so much that we had to play every note staccato. I can still hear the horrible echoes. Tonight was a delight.
What are your experiences with acoustics and sounds? What are good and not so good sound spaces you have encountered?