For the Umatuna Si Yu’os
The Academy of Our Lady of Guam recently held a Cantata by Pepper Choplin entitled “The Body Christ” at the AOLG Ysrael Auditorium of Fine Arts. Rather than the usual Broadway musical production, a Cantata was chosen this year to be performed by the Class of 2022 to allow the audience the opportunity to reflect and contemplate on the meaning of the Lenten season in preparation of the celebration of the Christian faith, the Resurrection.
A Cantata, which is a narrative piece with a chorus and orchestra that usually tells a story, either sacred or secular, was a perfect choice for the season. Often short to medium-length, the narration gives the audience a chance to reflect on the story while listening to the music. When asked why she chose a Cantata for this year’s spring performance, AOLG music director Mrs. Nina Terlaje stated that the inspiration came from the Christmas Cantatas she directed in the last four years.
According to Terlaje, “Students were able to connect more to the meaning of Christmas while learning and performing the Christmas Cantatas, so I thought, ‘why not have them learn a Cantata about the Paschal mystery?’” This year’s performance held during the Lenten season, “The Body of Christ” Cantata, was the most appropriate choice for the students to perform.
Terlaje shared that the students often resist learning a Cantata because they have the mindset that they cannot sing in a classical style or sound like a choral group, which presents a challenge to her. When teaching this style of singing, she has to reassure and encourage her students when rehearsing a new piece of music for a Cantata.
In spite of their hesitation and uncertainty of performing such a Cantata, the students’ hard work and talents shone through their amazing performances. All the hard work is rewarded and apparent when the parents, and audience in general, are uplifted through the group’s melodious, contemplative, and artistic performance. The preparation for the journey into the joyous Paschal season is felt. In fact, after one of the performances, a parent stated, “I felt like I was surrounded by choirs of angels!”
Donations received during both performances are earmarked to help with the AOLG’s Music Department’s needs. “Un dang ku’lu na si Yu’os ma’ase” to those who participated and attended. Kudos to the Class of 2022 on an excellent and meaningful performance.