Welcome to the forty-second season of the Louisiana Choral Foundation’s Masterworks Chorale. It is our pleasure to continue to produce innovative programming while providing choral enrichment and compelling performances for Southwest Louisiana. This season, entitled Celestial Songs of the Soul, will feature a variety of musical offerings occurring in several venues.
Our Fall Concert, Luminous Night of the Soul, will be presented in the sanctuary of University United Methodist Church of Lake Charles on October 19 at 7:30 p.m. and October 21 at 3:00 p.m. These concerts will include two selections based on poetry included in the Gitanjali collection of Bengali poet, Rabindranath Tagore: Gitanjali Chants by Craig Hella Johnson and The Golden Harp by Gwyneth Walker. In addition to being a poet, Tagore was also a novelist, composer, painter, lecturer, politician and playwright who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. “Tagore’s poetry extols the beauty of the divine and the beauty of the soul within - the beloved as creator, the beloved as lover” (Christopher Hyde, music critic).
Luminous Night of the Soul by Ola Gjeilo combines words by Charles Silvestri with St. John of the Cross’ poem Dark Night of the Soul. The finale of the piece has been referred to as exuberant and relentless. Both The Golden Harp and Luminous Night of the Soul will be accompanied by a string quartet with piano added for the Gjeilo selection. The concert will end with choral selections from Wicked by Stephen Schwartz and arranged by Mark Brymer.
The annual Christmas Concert, Angels of the Light, will be presented in two venues: Friday, December 7 at 7:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Lake Charles, and Sunday, December 9 at 3:00 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Church in Sulphur. Masterworks Chorale will perform Randoll Bass’ Festival Magnificat accompanied by a treble choir. This is a short but dynamic setting of the familiar text “My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord.” The centerpiece of the concert will be Snow Angel by Canadian composer Sarah Quartel. Quartel states, “The work asks the listener to see the tremendous potential present in our children. It celebrates love, beauty, and the strength that a child‘s voice can bring to our troubled world.” Guest cellist, Susan Morton will join with Masterworks Chorale for this selection. Carols of Central and South America and Carols of North America arranged by Mark Hayes will be the final selections by Masterworks Chorale. In addition to Masterworks Chorale, Les Petites Voix directed by Kari Proksch will present seasonal selections. The concert will conclude with the traditional “O Holy Night.”
The Spring Concert, Nelson Mass, will be presented at First United Methodist Church in Lake Charles on May 3 at 7:30 p.m. and on May 5 at 3:00 p.m. This concert will feature Missa in Angustiis Nelson Mass by Franz Joseph Haydn. Missa in Angustiis is translated as ‘Mass in the time of anxiety or constraint.’ This work is one of the most performed vocal works of Haydn. The mass was written during an unsettled time in European history, dominated by Napoleon’s campaigns against the Austro-Hungarian empire. The familiar title Nelson Mass most likely arose from a visit to Eisenstadt by Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton in 1800. Lord Nelson was seen by the Austrians as a great hero for his victory over Napoleon’s fleet at Abukir. In addition to Masterworks Chorale, this work will feature four vocal soloists and small orchestra using the original instrumentation of trumpets, timpani, strings and organ.