In Choirs

“Rise, My Soul” features arrangements of 12 sacred and inspirational hymns

BYU Women’s Chorus will release “Rise, My Soul” on March 6 — the choir’s first record since 2015. The album will be available for digital and physical purchase and is being distributed through BYU Records.

“An album of music is a representation of the artistry and heart of an ensemble,” said Women’s Chorus director Sonja Poulter. “‘Rise, My Soul’ showcases some of the best repertoire the choir has sung and will be a resource for comfort and peace for each listener.”

The new album includes performances from 2016-2019 and is the final album for Women’s Chorus conductor Jean Applonie, who has served as conductor since the fall of 2004. The album features arrangements of 12 hymns, including “How Great Thou Art,” “I Know That My Redeemer Lives,” “How Can I Keep from Singing” and “Rise My Soul” — which are among Applonie’s favorites on the album.

“I’m so happy to have a record of these years of mature and inspiring performances,” Applonie said. “The album is a lovely culmination of my 15 years conducting the Women’s Chorus. It has always been an honor to direct such a committed choir of young women.”

Poulter, who took over as conductor of Women’s Chorus in 2019, indicated that the ensemble’s ongoing success can be attributed to Applonie’s high standard for excellence of repertoire and singing, particularly given the choir’s everchanging makeup.

“Every year, Women’s Chorus consists of a few returning students and a big number of new students,” she said. “To come together as an ensemble is no easy task, and to come together in a way that a recording of such caliber can take place is a tribute to Jean’s skillful teaching and expressive music-making, as well as the willingness of each student to give their all to contribute to the unification of the music.”

Applonie expressed her gratitude for the dedication of the members of the ensemble as well as the opportunity to be involved in making songs of praise easily available.

“We are fulfilling the mission of Women’s Chorus — to give voice to beauty and compassion through choral artistry,” Applonie said. “By making an album, Women’s Chorus performances are accessible to thousands more people than fit in our concert hall.”

In addition to songs of worship, Women’s Chorus’s repertoire includes folk music and other genres, ranging from medieval and renaissance works to notable compositions of our day. As with all their music, the ensemble anticipates that audiences will find inspiration in “Rise, My Soul.”

“I hope audiences can feel the faith and devotion and joy behind the music,” Applonie said. “I hope they are awed by the extraordinary blend of 160 voices. And, I hope listeners will feel their soul rising to new heights.”

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