KEARNEY — Choir director David Bauer recognizes several important aspects of Ireland that contribute to the country’s musical legacy.
“My wife and I have been there four or five times with choirs from the university,” he said. “The people there sing. You’ll be in a church or a pub or just walking downtown, there will be a group of people just singing. And the melodies are infectious. There are so many of them. When you perform a concert of Irish music, you have to decide where to start. Or stop.”
Central Nebraska audiences can explore Irish music when the Platte River Singers and the Platte River Children’s Chorale present “Emerald Isle,” a concert of Irish music at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Fine Arts Recital Hall in the Fine Arts Building at 2506 12th Ave. on the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus.
Admission to the performance is free.
Bauer noted that choral arrangers like Robert Shaw have looked toward Irish music for unique melodies and appealing rhythms.
“In fact, Rod Walker from Kansas State University would start his concerts once a year with ‘The Wearing of the Green’ because it required a beautiful phrase and, yet, it was very wordy,” Bauer said. “It had a lot of words going by in a hurry. He always felt that that was a good teaching tool. I agree.”
The Platte River Singers will perform three songs from “River Dance,” a theatrical show of traditional Irish music.
“We’re going to do ‘The Home and the Heartland,’” Bauer said. “That’s our transition piece. The children have learned the solo throughout and Heidi Bauer will be singing with them.”
Another song, “O Pulse of My Heart,” composed by Karen Marroli, features some of the lyrics in Gaelic, one of the languages used in Ireland. Bauer also included a more traditional song.
“Cameron Williams will be the soloist in a setting of ‘Oh Danny Boy,’” Bauer said. “I couldn’t do a concert of Irish music without ‘Danny Boy.’ Just not possible.”
Ann Bauer and Clayton Moyer codirect the Platte River Children’s Chorale. Most of the music from the chorale fits with the theme.
David Bauer also noted that something about the rhythm of Irish music affects listeners.
“The words go by so quickly that if it’s not almost memorized and you don’t have the phrase direction, it just doesn’t happen,” he said. “But our singers have it. I think it’s the rhythmic aspect of Irish music that keeps people listening. If you watch ‘River Dance’ or listen to The Chieftains, my goodness, it just puts a smile on your face for the whole night.”
David Bauer retired from his position as director of choirs at the University of Nebraska at Kearney at the end of the 2018-19 school year. He said he plans to continue working with the Platte River Singers.