Today, Sept. 21st, I'm leaving Chicago to visit the Pacific NW for the first time in my life- something I've wanted to do for years. I will be at the world premiere of my modernized, quite contrapuntal double choir arrangement of William Billings' "When Jesus Wept" in a concert by Chor Anno, founded not long ago by Howard Meharg.
The idea behind Chor Anno is brilliant- take 25-30 professional choral singers/directors with chops and do one kickass concert each early fall. When else could all these busy directors find the time to be in a choir- they are too busy leading choirs all year!
Here is some info from the Chor Anno website about some of the piece on the upcoming concert which will be presented both Saturday and Sunday. Note that ACDA prez Tim Sharp also has a piece on the program and will be there!
Part of the program will include "Come Away to the Skies: A High Lonesome Mass," by Dr. Tim Sharp, Executive Director of the American Choral Directors Association.
Dr. Sharp, is well known in choral circles, not only as head of the 20,000 member ACDA, but as a conductor and composer.
The great thing for us is that Tim Sharp will not only be here for the premiere of his work, but he will also play the banjo as part of the accompanying bluegrass style group. Yes, you'll hear a marvelous combining of musical styles...wonderful choral writing and the poignant and mesmerizing sound of bluegrass instruments accompanying the choir.
But that's just part of the concert!
The program will range from early American to present day compositions by American composers such as John Muehleisen (Seattle), Paul Carey (Chicago), Richard Nance (Tacoma), Vijay Singh (Ellensburg), Ola Gjeilo (New York)...all contemporary, as well as a work by the incomparable Leonard Bernstein.
Here is [part of] the program:
Come Away to the Skies - and early American hymn arranged by the legendary double-choir Alice Parker
Saints Bound for Heaven - a melody from Walker's "Southern Harmony" of 1835, arranged by Mack Wilberg
When Jesus Wept - William Billings, from the New England Psalm Singer of 1770, but with an amazing new twist...arranged for eight-part, double choir by Paul Carey. This is a premiere performance. (Paul will be in attendance for the Vancouver concert!)
Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal - the robust and powerful hymn arranged by Alice Parker
Come Away to the Skies: a High Lonesome Mass - a west coast premiere of Tim Sharp's latest work. Tim uses his expertise as a scholar in early American music, taking hymns such as "Brethren, We Have Met to Worship," "Do Lord," "Hail, the Blest Morn," and "What Wondrous Love," and placed them in the framework of the mass. The result is a stunning 20 minute work.
Alleluia - by Hyo won Woo is a departure (along with the next two works) from our American themed concert...but we just had to perform 'em. This piece was premiered at the ACDA national convention by the Incheon Chorale of Seoul, Korea, in 2009. Powerful and very exciting. This may be another west-coast premiere performance.
The Beatitudes - by contemporary Estonian composer, Arvo Paert
Northern Lights - a composition by Ola Gjeilo
Carpenters of God - by our friend Vijay Singh
River Moons - is written by John Muehleisen, a Seattle composer who is becoming widely known. This piece was premiered and recorded by the Choral Arts Ensemble of Rochester, MN, in 2006. It's a setting of the poem by Carl Sandburg, who turns the image of the moon reflected in the water into a vivid memory from his youth.
The rest of my nine days in Oregon and Washington will be spent working with two excellent HS and college choirs,geocaching, sightseeing,and hanging out with my partner in crime, fellow composer Reg Ungerseher (who is the conductor for my piece). I guess when I am with Reg back at his home in Kennewick, WA I will see Mt. St. Helen's and many tumbleweeds (he does NOT live near the coast).
Here is the link to Chor Anno
I will try to blog while I am there!