Fresno State’s Chamber Singers and Concert Choir honored different forms of love during their concert on Monday.
Cari Earnhart, Fresno State director of choral activities, said she chose the theme “Love Is…,” as a way to combat “evils” in the world.
“There’s so much ugly in the world,” Earnhart said. “Love is the only thing that will overcome.”
Earnhart said she wanted to utilize music’s ability to “sing a little bit of peace out into the world.”
Kenneshae Murray, who performed during the concert, also feels that music can serve a greater purpose.
“Music has the ability to embody so many different emotions,” Murray said. “We should take advantage of those voices.”
Murray said she appreciated that the concert embodied a well-rounded view of the concept of love.
“I think it was great because it embodied all the facets of love,” Murray said. “Whether you’re in a relationship or have never had a relationship or you’re not really close with your family, there’s one piece in there that I’m sure you can relate to.”
The concert opened with “Five Hebrew Love Songs” by Eric Whitacre, a series of five brief songs. This was followed by “A Red, Red Rose” by James Mulholland. Next was “O Love.” Then, the choir performed “I Love You/What a Wonderful World” by Craig Hella Johnson. After that was “Please Stay,” a song that serves as a call to action to raise suicide awareness.
Murray performed as a soloist during “Please Stay.” She feels it is crucial to destigmatize mental illness and to seek help.
“Mental illness shouldn’t be considered a taboo because many people have [them],” Murray said. “Instead of joking around that ‘I’m sad’ or ‘I’m upset,’ really try to talk about it.”
Samuel Montgomery, a Fresno State student who also performed in the concert, said he felt “Please Stay” is crucial to advancing increased dialogue about mental illnesses.
“It’s very empowering and necessary to be able to sing about this openly,” Montgomery said.
“Please Stay” was followed by “True Colors” by Matthew Brown. After musician Cyndi Lauper heard this song, she formed the True Colors Fund. It is an organization that works to aid homeless LGBTQ youth.
The concert ended with “All of Us (From Considering Matthew Shepard)” by Johnson.