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Moses Sumney and Squirrel Flower fill Herrick Chapel with ethereal sound

Herrick Concert – Jun Taek Lee

Emma Roszkowski

From Gregorian chants to Christian gospel choirs, music has historically held spiritual significance. The concert on Thursday, Feb. 4 reaffirmed this association, as Herrick Chapel bore witness to Moses Sumney and student opener Squirrel Flower’s (Ella Williams ’19) performance to pews full of enthralled students.

The son of two pastors, Moses Sumney’s ease at performing in a chapel comes as no surprise.

“My parents will be stoked when I tell them that I finally sang in church,” Sumney commented near the end of his set.

Herrick Concert - Jun Taek Lee
Pews of students take in Moses Sumney’s vibrant soundscapes. Photo by Jun Taek Lee. 

The artist did more than sing, creating his own pulpit out of his guitar and a looping pedal. Simple patterns of clapping, snapping and tapping blended with sustained notes and simple melodies to create full, vibrant soundscapes. His set featured songs about breakup, self-doubt and police brutality, showcasing Sumney’s broad vocal range and ability to convey raw emotion. Attendees only broke their intent silence to accompany Sumney’s powerful rhythms with clapping or stomping. At the end of the set, the audience rewarded Sumney with a standing ovation.

Sumney is likely familiar with such approbation, having performed with the likes of Sufjan Stevens, St. Vincent, Erykah Badu, Beck and Solange, among others. All despite the fact that he has only released one EP: 2014’s “Mid-City Island.” In addition to songs from “Mid-City Island,” Sumney debuted pieces that will be released on his future full-length album.

Like Moses Sumney, Squirrel Flower filled the entire chapel with ethereal melodies and quiet power, accompanied only by her guitar and loop pedal. Williams’ performance, too, was a spiritual experience, and left this reporter in tears.

Herrick Concert - Jun Taek Lee
Squirrel Flower continues her series of solo concerts. Photo by Jun Taek Lee. 
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