Choral Music Unites Generations at Arts on Bergen Concert and Album Launch

“Music happens to be an art form that transcends language.” – Herbie Hancock

On November 16, there was a joyful celebration of music on the Saint Peter’s University campus. Arts on Bergen hosted two concerts, one in the afternoon in Saint Peter Chapel and an evening performance at St. Aedan’s: The Saint Peter’s University Church.

The performance at Saint Peter Chapel featured Julie Fristensky ’73, soprano, accompanied by Joseph W. Hill Jr. on piano. She had an audience of more than 70 guests in the ambient venue. She serenaded the audience with songs in French, Italian and German and provided lyrics and translations to follow along. The hour-long concert concluded with three lullabies in celebration of welcoming a grandchild to the world.

Following Julie’s concert was the launch of Cantate Cum Gaudio!, a new two-disc album celebrating Saint Peter’s University’s choral tradition. The album launch was later that evening at 7:00 p.m. at St. Aedan’s: The Saint Peter’s University Church. Cantate Cum Gaudio! is the culmination of a project that started almost a year ago in January 2016 with an Alumni Glee Club listening party. The Alumni Glee Club went through 50 tracks to pick their favorites and eventually settled on about 20 to include on the CD and a handful to perform at the concert. The album features remastered vinyl and cassette recordings by the Saint Peter’s College Glee Clubs from the 1950s to the 1990s, and pieces written especially for and recorded by the University’s current choruses, the Saint Peter’s University SCHOLA and the Aidan C. McMullen Chorale.

On the night of the concert, over 30 members of the Alumni Glee Club reunited, led by Warren Fristensky ’74, music director. Even though they had little rehearsal time together, they sounded harmonious. Accompanied by Walter Baber ’55 on piano, the Alumni Glee Club sang timeless favorites such as “My Heart Commends Itself to Thee (Mon Coeur)” and “Let There be Music.”

“How thrilling it was to sing across generations and decades from the past, and to know that the great choral tradition continues at Saint Peter’s – now and into the future! Music is timeless, and making music together bonds us all together forever! Hail Alma Mater, thine eternally,” Warren said.

The concert also featured songs such as “To the Unnamed Light” and “Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying” sung by students and faculty in the Aidan C. McMullen Chorale and Saint Peter’s University SCHOLA, directed by Joseph Legaspi, D.M., University director of music.

“Music really connects people,” said Dr. Legaspi. “It was special for the students too, because they did not know that choral singing was big at Saint Peter’s, but the school has a long history of choral music. We intend on keeping the legacy going.”

The concert concluded with a generational fanfare to the University sung by all three music groups. Songs included “The Peacock Parade (Io Pavo)” and “Alma Mater.”

“The Cantate Cum Gaudio! project built bridges that connected our musical past with our musical present—transcending generations,” said Dr. Legaspi.

View photos from the event. CDs are available for purchase and proceeds go to the music programs at the University e-mail Dr. Legaspi to purchase. Arts on Bergen concerts are free and open to the public. Consider attending one of the upcoming events: Angel Desai on December 7 at noon and Lessons and Carols on December 8 at 7:00 p.m.