Lawrence Choir to take on PAC – plk -dlh

Joe Pfender

The Concert Choir will be heading down the Ave this 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 bring together the Lawrence students of Concert Choir with the community members of the White Heron Chorale and the extra-collegiate musicians in the FVSO, providing 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 for the piece. About the use of 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 for “Chicester Psalms” include Alisa Jordheim, Deanna Wanner, Ben Horvat and Jesse Weinberg.
The Concert Choir and the FVSO will return after intermission with the “Symphony of Psalms” by Stravinsky, 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.” Originally a ballet, the suite, along with “The Rite of Spring” and “Petrushka,” is one of the pillars of Stravinsky’s career. Stravinsky’s long-standing distaste for this early work of his faded over time, and 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 could hardly be closer. The performance at the PAC begins at 7:30 on Friday, April 8. Tickets are available from the PAC ticket office, by phone at 920-730-3760, or online at www.foxvalleysymphony.com.