Point Loma Singers, a small choir at Point Loma Nazarene University, arose at 7 a.m. on Sunday in preparation for a concert. Each member dressed up in formal black attire and hopped on the buses ready to perform.
“Considering it is one of our first church concerts in two years I’m ecstatic,” said Keith Pedersen, professor of music and choir conductor for Point Loma Singers (PLS).
On Feb. 13, 2022, Point Loma Singers held their first performance of the spring semester.
Sylvia Strickland, a third-year music education major, said her hope was “that the people in the congregation will be blessed with our singing.”
After the concert, Azrael Arroyave, a fourth-year history major, commented on his first impression of the first performance.
“Everyone did their best, and despite a few hurdles, we ultimately put in a good showing of our group and our talents,” Arroyave said.
The concert was at La Jolla Presbyterian, Pedersen’s home church. Located about 30 minutes from PLNU’s campus, PLS took two small buses and two cars to transport the choir members.
PLS warmed up and ran through the repertoire upon arriving. The choir sang sacred and classical choral music.
“Every year, Dr. Pedersen knocks it out of the park with the selections he chooses, and this year is no different. My favorite is the gospel piece, Witness,” said Arroyave.
The congregation responded to PLS with applause.
“Overall this experience was fulfilling and brought joy to not only the choir members but the overall audience virtually and in person,” Pedersen said.
Unlike PLNU’s Concert Choir’s three days a week rehearsal schedule, Point Loma Singers rehearse every week day. They meet Monday through Friday and rehearse for about an hour.
“Point Loma Singers gives people the chance to be with the same people over four years every day, that’s just a very unique experience,” Pedersen said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, PLS became a virtual choir. Pedersen said that he has appreciated the chance to temporarily be online as opposed to not meeting at all.
Moving from virtual learning in 2020-2021 to in-person learning in 2021-2022 was a shift that impacted the students in how they performed. They were not used to performing in front of a live audience.
Because of the multiple choirs at PLNU, PLS stands out to students and the community specifically because of its size.
“I have great respect for the Concert Choir, though I know there can be a friendly rivalry at times. PLS is different because we are a smaller group. It means more tight-knit relationships and more necessary trust for one another in learning and memorizing the music. In a small group, everyone’s voices are heard” Arroyave said.
Now that the choir is back in person, the experience of being together in the same room has made choir music even more exciting and interesting, Pedersen said.
“There is no place for anybody to hide and you feel like you are contributing to a small choir,” Pedersen said.
There have been challenges for this small choir but “once we were able to meet in person, I felt even more welcomed by the soprano section and by everyone else. I thank Dr. Pedersen for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful group,” Strickland said.
From practicing every day to hanging out outside of choir, PLS has created a family and a place for students to call home, said Pedersen.
“Because of him [Pedersen], I was able to retain the advice he gave and in the future apply it into my future as a vocalist and a teacher. As of now, I feel more confident about myself as a vocalist and that I have to make new friendships that will last a lifetime,” Arroyave said.
Written By: Kareen Boyadjian