Bernstein work to be performed at Spring Choral Concert March 28

March 24 2008

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- The Indiana State University Department of Music will present a Spring Choral Showcase concert Friday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m. at Centenary United Methodist Church.

The program will include performances by the Women’s Chorale and Sycamore Singers, under the direction of Mark Carlisle. Scott Buchanan, the director of choral activities, will conduct the Concert Choir.

The diverse program will include music that spans nearly 700 years of the western choral art. The Sycamore Singers will feature the music of Renaissance composers William Byrd and Lodovico Viadana, as well as that of contemporary composers Javier Busto, Allen Koepke, and the late Moses Hogan. The Women’s Chorale will feature works of modern American composers including Judith Herrington, Victor Johnson, and Jim Papoulis.

The ISU Concert Choir will perform selections that will be featured during their upcoming appearance at the International Choral Festival in Lucerne, Switzerland this summer. These include two selections by Kirke Mechem, “Blow Ye the Trumpet” and “Dan-u-el,” from his new opera, “John Brown,” which tells the story of the charismatic abolitionist and his attempt to destroy American slavery during the latter half of the 19th century. The opera will be premiered by the Lyric Opera of Kansas City in May 2008. Also on the program will be William Billing’s “Easter Anthem” and Gabriel Fauré’s “Cantique de Jean Racine.”

The highlight of the concert, at least for Buchanan, will be a performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms.”

“I have had the privilege to perform in many of this country’s finest venues, but having this opportunity to perform with my 9 year-old son, Will, is going to be special,” he said.

Bernstein was commissioned to write these “Psalms” by the Cathedral of Chichester, in Sussex, England for its annual summer music festival in 1965. The world premiere took place in July of 1965 in New York’s Philharmonic Hall, and was heard two weeks later at the festival in Chichester.

“The piece was conceived by Bernstein with an all-male choir in mind,” said Buchanan, adding it was permissible, though not preferable, to substitute women’s voices for the soprano and alto parts. “Bernstein was adamant that the solo in the second movement must be sung by a boy or counter-tenor,” he said.

“I asked Will if he would be willing to sing with the Concert Choir. He wasn’t really that fired up at the beginning, especially after listening to a recording and finding out that he would have to sing in Hebrew.”

Buchanan says there were some other negotiations as well.

“He held out on me. He finally agreed, but he I said I had to rent him a tuxedo so he could look like the rest of the men in the choir. It has been a treat for me to work with him on this.”

Accompanying the choir on the piece will be Dennis Dieken on organ, ISU graduate student, Jason Hammond, on percussion, and Christina Marshall, a professional harpist from Illinois.

Admission to the concert is free, however, donations for the Concert Choir’s European tour will be accepted. For more information, call 812-237-4590.


Contact: Scott Buchanan, director of Choral Activities, (812) 237-2763

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, (812) 237-3783 or

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The Indiana State University Department of Music will present a Spring Choral Showcase concert Friday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m. at Centenary United Methodist Church.

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