Humans Creating Beauty in “Musing”


Adeline Ong

MUSING open practice ahead of their concert in the Chapel of St. Ignatius.

Seattle University’s Chapel of St. Ignatius was the site of a collaborative campus choral event called “Musing.” The voices consisted of 14 people from the Seattle-Tacoma area who have varying day jobs, but use the art of music to come together. On the evening of Saturday, Feb. 4, beautifully blended harmonies filled the chapel for the enraptured attendees.

Leann Conley-Holcom, the director of choral & vocal activities and interim director of music at Seattle U, co-founded this choral experience with Anne Lyman, the program chair of the music department at Tacoma Community College. The group of performers is made up of singers, teachers and conductors who come together only once or twice a year to rehearse and perform. Despite limited practice, the group is able to pull off an angelic musical encounter, having played together in the past.

“We like to say the arts are a small world,” Conley-Holdom wrote to The Spectator.  

Conley-Holcom was glad to have the opportunity to perform with the group and provide the Seattle U community with such a high-end music experience. 

“We hope folks were inspired and moved by the performance,” Conley-Holcom wrote. 

Alongside the main performance of the evening, there was also a Q&A session and rehearsal event held earlier in the day to provide a behind-the-scenes look into the preparation of “Musing.” This precursor to the main event was an aspect Conley-Holcom was looking forward to as it provided a chance for the audience to see exactly how the show came to life. 

Jessica Albert, a fourth-year cell and molecular biology major and a member of the choir at Seattle U, worked closely with the performers leading up to this event and was excited to share such a collaborative musical experience with the campus.

“Getting to see our professor perform as a professional singer is a great opportunity and to be able to host this group on campus makes it very accessible to the students,” Albert wrote to The Spectator. 

Sophia Hampton, a second-year environmental studies and public affairs double major at Seattle U, echoed the same appreciation for seeing her choir director perform. 

“Anything Dr. C [Conley-Holcom] is a part of is worthwhile to attend,” Hampton wrote to The Spectator. 

The performance consisted of perfectly stacked harmonies that delivered a beautiful echo throughout the walls of chapel. Raucous applause burst forth upon the completion of every song, and the audience could find the singers all smiling at one another under the lights of the stage.

Albert left the “Musing” concert pleased with her performance and the fact that the choir was able to communicate without a conductor for all their songs. 

“I was also able to see techniques we have been taught in class be put to action in the real world,” Albert wrote.  

Hampton, who attended the concert as an audience member, was equally impressed with the performance. She was especially taken by their clean vocal techniques and stunning harmonies.

“Anytime I am lucky enough to watch or experience someone else’s creativity, I am more hopeful and am reminded of the beauty humans are able to create,” Hampton wrote. 

Hampton loves having the opportunity to go to any concert, no matter the genre of music, because they provide special experiences and emotions. 

“[Concerts] let you escape from the challenges of your day and life and leave you feeling better than you did before,” Hampton wrote.

Art programs at educational institutions are often subject to painful budget cuts and a general lack of interest. Holding easily accessible concerts and events on campus is part of what keeps campus music alive.. Albert and Hampton shared their eagerness for the next event like “Musing” to come to Seattle U. 

“I am always glad to support anything related to music and the arts at Seattle U,” Hampton wrote. Conley-Holcom and Seattle U choral members are already working on their next performance, the date of which has yet to be announced. To keep on top of the schedule for upcoming arts events at Seattle U, visit the Seattle U Art Events website.