Crimson Express performs at end of semester concert

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On Nov. 30, the Crimson Express Ensemble held a concert at Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center in the Ruth Lily Performance Hall at the University of Indianapolis from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., according to UIndy 360.

According to the Director of the Crimson Express Ensemble Erin Benedict, the performance ensemble presents everyone with a broad range of opportunities which enable them to build diversity in genres and styles. Such ensembles additionally allow students to become acquainted with the canon linked with their respective specialties, according to UIndy’s website.

The ensemble not only consists of 14 singers, but also a rehearsal pianist, Cordell Hankins, according to Benedict. 

“…For our concert, we bring in a group of professional jazz musicians and professional players to play with us,” said Benedict.

According to Benedict, he gathers a handful of tracks that [the ensemble] can collaborate on, and they all can determine if they enjoy them together– which in most cases they do. She said she strives to discover things that students would never know, which is why she tries to incorporate many different songs into the concert. 

  “We [played] some 80’s, some jazz, and some Christmas [music]…,” said Benedict.

Junior music performance major Elizabeth Enderle is also one of the members of the Crimson Express Ensemble. She said she believes the purpose of this concert was to show what the ensemble has been working on all semester.

“The purpose of this concert was to basically show what we’ve been working on all semester,” Enderle said. “It was a really great variety of music… I would say it’s our vocal jazz and contemporary music vocal ensemble here on campus… that can range anywhere from like 14 to 20 [people], just depending on semester. It’s one of the small ensembles here on campus.”

While preparing for the concert, the ensemble did not have the opportunity to rehearse with microphones until the day of the performance, according to Benedict. 

“So that’s always… tricky to have a quick mic technique class… Then a dress rehearsal, and then the concert– it’s all in one day. I do wish we had more time to practice in the concert hall, but that’s the name of the game,” said Benedict.

Enderle said it is challenging putting all the puzzle pieces together and it is consistently different from practicing in a choir room and then with the band. Eventually, the Crimson Express Ensemble had to add things including microphones, sound and audio, which can also be challenging, according to Benedict. 

The most memorable moment of the concert, according to Benedict, was opening with the song “Edge of Seventeen,” as well as closing the show with “Holding Out for a Hero.” 

The opportunity to be a part of the ensemble lets students have the chance to perform solos of songs of their choice, according to Enderle. 

  “All of the singers have an opportunity for solos at every concert… They can [also] do [a] duet. I really give them a lot of flexibility [with] the music that we’re going to do, because I want them to love it, too,” said Benedict.

According to Enderle, certain aspects of being in a choir ensemble is what makes being a part of the Crimson Express Ensemble so special to her.

“We get to sing and interact with each [other]…” Enderle said. “…I think that’s what makes Crimson [Express] special to me is that we just get to share so many different types of music that we love and do it in a way that really showcases everybody in the group too [where] everybody in the group can have their moment, their opportunity, and then together we can just do something so cool.”

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