Carnine shows off ‘most wonderful group’ ever

“It’s all very unusual,” said Dr. Al Carnine, department of music.

For years, Carnine has directed the MSSU Choral Society, but he’s never enjoyed a group as much as this year’s batch. 50 students enrolled for this year’s class and a strange bond has formed.

 “It is the most wonderful group that I’ve ever worked with here at the college,” he said. “It’s almost like a family. They’re really caring about each other and if something happens to somebody they all gather round to help them out.

“Most organizations like this, they’re all strangers to each other, but they really get to know each other and they help each other in times of need outside of the rehearsals. Very unusual. Very unusual.”

The group has been practicing for the Christmas concert since the beginning of the semester, but was not drilling the same songs into their heads.

” There is enough of it and it takes so much time to learn it that generally you’re hoping you’re peaking by the time you perform it,” Carnine said. “We had dress rehearsal on Monday night and they were right at that spot. It takes a lot of pacing to do that and it takes a lot of hit and miss.”

Carnine feels that he has discovered a formula for ensuring his groups peak at the right time through trial and error.

“There have been times when I have taken them past that and realized that this is where I get diminishing returns now, so that didn’t work too well but it’s working well now,” he said.

For several years, Carnine has been in charge of the program, protecting it when he could.

The program cost $25 an hour prior to a raise in the price in the 1980s. Carnine was flipping through the schedule book one year when he came across the raise in price.

He was told that the cost was so  low, Missouri Southern had to raise it. Carnine said he told the University that he didn’t like it and wanted to make sure the class didn’t raise the price again. The class has maintained it’s $30 per semester cost ever since.

He said the cost of the class rounds out to a value of about $1 an hour.

This year the choral will be performing the second half of Joseph M. Martin’s cantata The Mystery and Majesty. Last year, the group performed the first half.

“I didn’t want to do the whole thing otherwise the whole thing would take up a whole concert and we’d wind up doing one piece for the concert and I like to have variety,” Carnine said. “That one has to do with sacred aspects of Christmas and you always want to put the secular side of Christmas in there too so the people can be entertained as well as inspired, too.”

The show will begin at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12 at First Community Church, located at 15th Street and Connecticut Avenue in Joplin.