Eastern New Mexico University hosted the Grammy-nominated New York Polyphony this past week, marking the group’s third visit to Portales in recent years. “It’s always a treat to perform here in Buchanan Hall.” said Geoffery Williams, the groups’ countertenor. The New York Polyphony has been touring for several months previous to their performance at ENMU, making appearances in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Canada. The groups focuses primarily on Renaissance- and Medieval-era musical pieces. They maintain a rigorous touring schedule, participation in and organizing concerts all over the world.
During each visit to Portales, the New York Polyphony works with the ENMU chamber singers. “We perform a piece, and then they give us feedback on how the performance was, and what we could do to make the music come to life. This gives the choir an opportunity to have a different perspective on what the music has the potential to be.” said Cecilia McAfee, a member of the ENMU Chamber Singers. “They help us understand how a simple change in how we phrase a line can make the music more interesting, and how a change in diction in each piece can bring a great amount of character to it.” she added.
The concert was a collaboration between the Friends of Music, the ENMU Music department, and the New York Polyphony. The concert, named “Conversations,” consisted of 14 pieces in total ranging from 14th-century songs to more contemporary works. The ENMU chambers singers collaborated with both the New York Polyphony and Dr. Stephanie Beinlich to bring to life a 15th-century piece of music called “Miserere Mei, Deus.” This work was written by Gregorio Allegri and was originally sung in the Sistine chapel. The song was forbidden to be performed outside of particular services in the chapel. The combined efforts and talents of everyone involved resulted in a beautiful performance.