Choir at PAC -jcr (don’t reload though)

Joe Pfender

The Lawrence University Concert Choir will be heading down the Avenue Friday night to join with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra and the White Heron Chorale for a performance in the Performing Arts Center. This event will be bringing together the Lawrence students of Concert Choir with the community members of the White Heron Chorale and the extra-collegiate musicians in the FVSO. This should provide a stimulating musical environment not only for the performers, but for the audience as well.
The program for the concert is very exciting, including pieces by Leonard Bernstein and Igor Stravinsky. The Overture to Candide, written by Bernstein as a part of his opera Candide, is one of the most recognizable overtures the FVSO could have picked to open the concert with. Second on the program is Bernstein’s ambitious Chicester Psalms, a combined choral/orchestral, multi-movement work in which he displays his taste for satire. The LU Concert Choir and the White Heron Chorale, both directed by Rick Bjella, will be singing on the piece. With both choruses, Bjella cited the need for more than the fifty voices of Concert Choir to balance out the orchestra, in addition to the willingness of both ensembles to put the necessary time and effort into the rehearsals to bring the work together.
Lawrence student soloists in Chicester Psalms include Alisa Jordheim, Deanna Warner, Ben Horvatt and Jesse Weinberg.
The Concert Choir and the FVSO will return after intermission with the Symphony of Psalms by Stravinsky. It is described by Bjella as “a haunting work able to do unbelievable things.” Specifically he is talking about the second movement, which is a double fugue with one subject, or melody, in the orchestra and the other in the choir. The final piece of the evening is Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, which made the cut in Fantasia 2000. Originally a ballet, the Suite, along with The Rite of Spring and Petrushka, is one of the most solid supports for his continued popularity. Stravinsky’s long-standing antagonism to this early work of his faded over time. His last recording as a conductor, when he was 85, included music from The Firebird.
The FVSO originally talked to Bjella about a year and a half ago about doing this concert, and now the opportunity to see all of these truly masterful works of the twentieth century is reality. The performance will be at the PAC, starting at 7:30 on Friday, April 8. Tickets are available from the PAC ticket office, by phone at (920) 730-3760, or online at