Orchestra and choirs to present combined concert

Laura Streyle

Friday the 13th is sometimes given a bad rap for being an unlucky date, a scary spot on the calendar. Fortunately, the three Lawrence choirs have joined forces with the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra to brighten the face of this Friday, by giving a combined concert at 8 p.m. in the Lawrence University Memorial Chapel.
The evening will open, under the direction of Conductor David E. Becker, with an LSO performance of “The Reformation Symphony” by Felix Mendelssohn.
Viking Chorale, the women’s choir Cantala and Concert Choir will then combine with the orchestra for Haydn’s “Lord Nelson Mass.” Forty minutes in length, this piece will be conducted by interim choir conductor Paul Nesheim, who is pleased to work with such talented musicians.
“The opportunity to study this music in depth and to bring it to life in performance with these gifted and dedicated student musicians is a great thrill for me,” said Nesheim.
The concert is being presented in observance of Mendelssohn’s birth and Haydn’s death, both of which occurred 200 years ago in 1809. Audience members will have the opportunity to be inspired by the works of two master composers in one night, free of charge.
Nesheim had a few highlights of the concert in mind. “It’s difficult to choose a particular highlight of the Haydn,” said Nesheim, “but if I had to choose, I would pick the opening movement, Kyrie.”
Nesheim also pointed to a recently published book he is reading, written on the Haydn masses, saying that it asserts the Kyrie as “one of the great movements in all Western music.”
Nesheim continued, saying, “While Haydn’s setting of this traditional text functioned in a theological and liturgical context, this movement also represents so skillfully and expressively the angst that people were feeling in 1798 as Napoleon’s army was threatening Austria.”
The “Lord Nelson Mass” is also an enjoyable work for the choirs, as it spotlights 14 student vocal soloists within the choral and orchestral score.
The concert is not ticketed, and for those audience members who would rather not venture outside the house Friday the 13th for fear of black cats, strategically placed ladders and broken mirrors, the concert will be streamed through a live webcast for the convenience of out-of-chapel listeners. The link to the webcast can be found on Lawrence’s home page.