Central Iowa Choral Groups Unite for Concerts

For the first time ever, Central Iowa music lovers can hear two of the area’s premier choral groups, the Ames Chamber Artists and the Des Moines Choral Society, in concert together for two appearances. The first concert, hosted by the Choral Society, will be held at the St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines on Saturday, April 27 and the second performance, hosted by the Chamber Artists, will take place at Iowa State University’s Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall on Saturday, May 11.

The idea for a combined concert originated with James Rodde, the Louise Moen Endowed Chair in Music and Director of Choral Activities at Iowa State University, who also just happens to be artistic director for both groups.

Each group will present its own pieces (see the program listing below) and the combined choirs will offer several movements from masterworks, including Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “All Night Vigil.”

“It’s the Choral Society’s annual ‘masterwork’ concert, so it started with thinking of a masterwork — one that would be unaccompanied, or perhaps accompanied by piano only,” Rodde said. “Rachmaninoff’s Vespers came to mind almost immediately.  The African Sanctus struck me as something that would be out of the ordinary, and would represent a portion of a contemporary ‘masterwork.’ And for these major works, it just seemed appropriate to have both groups sing together as an 85-member choir.”

The combined group will perform movements 1 and 5-8 of Rachmaninoff’s 15-section work that was based on texts taken from the Russian Orthodox All-Night Vigil. The African Sanctus, written by David Fanshawe, features recordings of traditional African music that the composer taped during his travels in Africa during the 1960’s.

The group will also perform Ola Gjeilo’s “Dark Night of the Soul,” a hauntingly beautiful work based on a text of the same name by 16th century priest and poet, St. John of the Cross. The program will conclude with Amazing Grace arranged by Mack Wilberg.

“The Gjeilo piece was somewhat of an afterthought,” Rodde said. “I tried it with the Des Moines group and they reacted very favorably, so I added it to the concert.  Closing with Amazing Grace just made sense, in that both groups had already recently performed it.”

Besides their director, the two groups have much in common. Both are auditioned choirs comprised of community members from a variety of backgrounds and that perform a wide range of major choral works. The Ames Chamber Artists, formed in 1988, are currently observing their 25th season. The Des Moines Choral Society began in 1979 to sing with the Des Moines Symphony in its inaugural concert at the Des Moines Civic Center.

“Both groups are rather similar, although the Choral Society is slightly larger,” Rodde said. “Both groups fulfill a need in each community for artistic choral singing.  Each group has personnel that bring a variety of talents and experience, which enhance each organization both musically and otherwise.”

“I really like where this concert is heading,” said Rodde. “It will offer a variety of repertoire, with each ensemble and each community being able to experience the other.  I am looking forward to the final product!”

Ticket information for the concerts is available on the respective host group’s website: www.dmchoral.org or www.ameschamberartists.org.

 

TENTATIVE PROGRAM

I

Regina Coeli, K. 276 ……………………….…….. W.A. Mozart (1756-1791)

  • Alyssa Ericson, soprano
  • Rebecca Young, alto
  • Tim Vermillion, tenor
  • Jack Mithelman, bass

O Salutaris Hostia ………………………..……………….….  Eriks Esenvalds

  • Alyssa Ericson, Deborah Svec-Carstens, sopranos

Three Quartets ………………………..…….. Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

  • Der Abend, op. 64, no. 2
  • Wenn so lind dein Aug emir, op. 52, no. 8
  • Nein, es ist nicht auszukommen mit den Leuten, op. 52, no. 11

Des Moines Choral Society

II

Cantate Domino ………………………….. Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)

In dulci jubilo ……………………………..…………..…. arr. Matthew Culloton

To the Mothers in Brazil – Salve Regina …….….. arr. Gunnar Eriksson

Not One Sparrow is Forgotten ……………………….. arr. William Hawley

After Music ……………………………………………..…..………….. Eric Barnum

Ames Chamber Artists

Intermission

III

 

African Sanctus ……………………………….. David Fanshawe (1942-2010)

1.            African Sanctus

9.            The Lord’s Prayer*

13.          Finale and Gloria

 

All-Night Vigil ……………….………….. Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

1.            Priidite, Poklonimsya (Come, Let Us Worship)

5.            Nine otpushchayeshi (Now Let Thy Servant Depart)

  • Matthew McCue, tenor

6.            Bogoroditsye Devo (Rejoice, O Virgin)

7.            Slava V Vyshnikh Bogu (Glory to God in the Highest)

8.            Khvalite Imya Gospodne (Praise the Name of the Lord)

 

Dark Night of the Soul ………………………………………………….. Ola Gjeilo

text:  St. John of the Cross (1542-1591)

  • Alyssa Ericson, soprano

Amazing Grace …………………………………..……………. arr. Mack Wilberg

Combined Choirs