Marquis Consort celebrates music of past

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The Marquis Consort has members of all different majors and skill levels. (Photo courtesy of Jacob Potter ’23)

The Marquis Consort will be transporting the Williams Center for the Arts back to the Baroque and Romantic periods during its upcoming end-of-semester concert.

The performance, which will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Dec. 11, will feature an ensemble of string players, guitarists, lutenists and singers performing pieces from the 16th to 18th centuries.

Their performances will include German, French, Spanish and English compositions, often from the Baroque and Romantic periods. Renaissance guitarist Jacob Potter ’23 feels that exploring the music of the past allows for a deeper appreciation of modern music.

“There’s nothing in modern music that’s like it,” Potter said. “It’s not like I walk around campus with my AirPods in, listening to Baroque music. But there are certain things about modern music that I would never have been able to appreciate if not for engaging with this music.”

Performing this type of music opens new doors for students.

“Especially when you’re playing pieces that sound so different to the music you regularly listen to or hear in our current times, that’s when it gets so exciting. Like, ‘Where’d you even find this type of music?'” Potter said. “A lot of the music we play are 400 to 500-year-old pieces that survived the centuries … or only have a couple of surviving parts, and those are interesting because you feel like you’re unpacking history.”

For Louisa Rose ‘23, a singer in the ensemble, the group has propelled her as both a music listener and a musician.

“It pushes me to be better as a musician and broaden my horizons with music that I may not know, and have fun with it too. They’re just really fun and cheeky songs that are fun to sing. The singers all get really into it,” she said.

The group incorporates old techniques and instruments with modern ones.

“It’s just a cool experience to be able to bring that history of English Baroque to the current way we perform. For example, we have renaissance guitars and we have ‘regular’ guitars which, to me, showcases the intersection of old and new,” Rose said.

For Potter and Rose, the ensemble represents a diverse and tight-knit learning community.

“I think we all want to be there. People really mesh,” Rose said.

“We have engineers, classics majors, English majors, psychology majors … and people with varying levels of skill. It’s a very diverse group and a quirky thing to be involved in,” Potter said. “Marquis Consort has been the defining experience for me at Lafayette. It’s a very liberal arts thing to do,” he added.

Associate professor of music and department head Jorge Torres directs the Marquis Consort and often plays along with the students.

“Jorge always invites people to come discuss the music and history during office hours. The world around you fades away when you see how passionate he is about his career and academic interests,” Potter said.

Rose encourages Lafayette students to look into joining the group.

“This was one of my ‘cur non’ moments at Lafayette; I just kind of stumbled into something and it turned out really well for me. People don’t tend to know about Marquis Consort because we’re a smaller ensemble on campus. But I’d encourage anyone who’s interested to try it out,” Rose said.

The Marquis Consort’s upcoming performance is free and open to everyone. Tickets are available at lafayette.universitytickets.com.

Correction 12/4/22: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Marquis Consorts’ end-of-semester performance would be on December 12. It will be held on December 11.