Photo by Maury McCown
Article by Nicholas Schmelter
On Sunday, February 19, the twenty-four members of Central Michigan University’s Chamber Singers will perform a 4:00 p.m. choral concert at historic First Congregational Church, 403 S. Jefferson, in downtown Saginaw, Michigan. The public is invited to attend the program entitled Sing All Day, which offers an eclectic mix of choral music, the collaborative forces of a string quartet, and a harpist, Sylvia Norris.
Among other compositions, the Chamber Singers will perform familiar spirituals by Harry Burleigh and André Thomas; selections on Cuban and Haitian melodies by Brian Tate and Sydney Guillaume; excerpts from Robert H. Young’s Missa Brevis; favorites by Felix Mendelssohn and Gerald Finzi; “For the Beauty of the Earth” by John Rutter in which guest ensembles, including First Congregational Church’s Chancel Choir, will collaborate; and, John Corigliano’s Fern Hill, a setting of lyrical texts by poet Dylan Thomas, featuring mezzo-soprano Taylor Stevens.
Admission to the afternoon program is free, but a retiring collection will be taken to support the Friends of Music Series. A reception hosted by First Congregational Church’s Chancel Choir will take place in the congregation’s Bradley House following the concert.
The Chamber Singers, directed by Dr. Nina Nash-Robertson, is Central Michigan University’s most highly selective ensemble of 20-30 singers, primarily upperclassmen and graduate students. Krystal Thomas is the choir’s accompanist. The Chamber Singers perform the highest quality music of all periods, but they focus on the literature of the Renaissance and other choral chamber music. Recent works include Bach’s Lobet Den Herrn, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Mozart’s Magnificat, Brahms’ Zigeunerlieder and Liebeslieder Walzes, Ravel’s Trois Chansons, and Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music. Chamber Singers have been honored to sing the premier performance of many new choral works, to perform at regional conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and the Music Educators National Conference, and to perform in Ireland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Austria, and China. Their concert tour to Ireland and France in May 2007 included performances in cathedrals and halls in Dublin, Paris, and Chartres. The Chamber Singers are also pleased to host the annual Vocal Chamber Music Day where guests have included Chanticleer, the Kings Singers, Cantus, and the Brazeal Dennard Ensemble.
First Congregational Church is affiliated with the United Church of Christ and has recognized excellence in musical outreach and community service since the 1800’s. The Rev. Dr. Todd S. Farley, PhD, is the congregation’s Senior Minister. If you would like more information, please contact Nicholas Schmelter, Director of Music Ministries, at the church office center, (989) 754-6565.
© Nicholas Schmelter, 2012