How do you sing an a-cappella version of a Bach organ instrumental?
Which is exactly what Mansfield University's The Mansfieldians did when they performed J.S. Bach's 'Little' Organ Fugue in G minor, BWV 587 at the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) National Conference in Dallas, Texas.
The internationally recognized group was selected by the ACDA from more than 200 choirs that applied through recorded auditions. According to conductor Sheryl Monkelien, the eight singers were divided into six parts and a vocal percussionist. They rehearsed about three hours a week for eight weeks.
"Students had to be independent and confident on their individual voice part," she said. "They also have to listen to all parts to make sure they are balanced."
The fugue was arranged by Ward Swingle, one of the premier arrangers in vocal jazz.
To get a true appreciation for the complexity and subtlety of this 300-year-old work, listen to the organ arrangement and compare it to The Mansfieldians performance.