THE CHORUS OF WESTERLY'S
AMERICAN CHORAL SOUND
SUNDAY, MARCH 10, 2013
4 & 6 PM
Buy tickets here:
4 PM tickets
6 PM tickets
Featuring a special World Premiere in honor of George Kent
'Five New England Songs'
By Peter Niedmann
A program of works for Chorus and Small Ensemble written by American composers
Concert to be presented in a "lecture-performance" style format with conductor Andrew Howell offering commentary between each work.
Program to include (subject to change)
Hark, I hear the harps eternal
Shenandoah (arr. Erb)
Precious Lord, take my hand (Dorsey)
Five New England Songs - A Work in Honor of George Kent (Peter Niedmann)**
My Lord, what a mornin' (arr. Burleigh)
Elijah Rock (arr. Hogan)
and other works to be announced.
*- A new five movement work commissioned by the Chorus of Westerly in
honor and celebration of George Kent's tenure as music director of the
Chorus from 1959-2012. Written by former Chorus child singer Peter
4 pm performance tickets
6 pm performance tickets
Presented with support by Dr. Thomas and Cynthia Sculco, The Blue Mitten Thrift Shop, Alumni, Patrons, and Friends of The Chorus of Westerly (Commission), and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.
MORE ABOUT THE CONCERT
Chorus of Westerly to
present American Choral Sound, a
American Choral Music on
March 10 at 4 and 6 pm
Concert features the world premiere of ‘Five New
a new work composed by Peter Niedmann in honor of George Kent
Concert is the Chorus of Westerly’s first ever
performance featuring strictly American composers
RI – The words and sounds of America’s rich culture will echo throughout The
George Kent Performance Hall on Sunday, March 10, at 4 pm and 6 pm, as The
Chorus of Westerly and conductor Andrew Howell present American Choral Sound, two concerts of American choral music
written or arranged over the past century.
two concerts, to be presented in a relaxed lecture-performance style format
with Andrew Howell offering commentary between each work, marks the first time
The Chorus of Westerly has presented an exclusive “All American” choral program
in Kent Hall.
The highlight of this special new program is the world premiere of Five New England Songs by Peter
Niedmann, a Westerly native, former Chorus of Westerly singer, and noted New
England musician. Five New England Songs
was commissioned last summer by the Chorus of Westerly to be written in honor
of George Kent, recently retired music director of the Chorus, in gratitude for
his 53 years of service to the organization and the greater community. During
both concerts, Mr. Kent’s legacy will be celebrated and he will be honored just
prior to the performance of the work.
In addition to the premiere of Five New
England Songs, the performance will also feature many familiar choral settings
of classic American works including Hark,
I hear the harps eternal, Flanders Fields, Shenandoah, Precious Lord, take my
hand, Elijah Rock, and My Lord, what a mornin’. Most of the works on the program will feature
the Chorus a cappella while some will be accompanied by light instrumentation.
Tickets for this performance are on sale now and are $21, $37, and $60
depending on section. Tickets can be purchased 24 hours a day online at
chorusofwesterly.org. Tickets can also be purchased during business hours by
calling 401.596.8663 or by coming to the Chorus of Westerly Box Office at 119
High Street (The George Kent Performance Hall).
Student and child discounts are available. Student tickets can only be
purchased by coming to or calling the Chorus Box Office directly. For frequent
concert patrons to the Chorus, please be aware there is no Saturday pre-concert
lecture for this concert series. The performances themselves will feature
commentary by the music director about each work.
The George Kent Performance Hall is handicap accessible.
Interviews with conductor Andrew Howell and composer Peter Niedmann can be
arranged upon request. Publicity requests should be directed to Lee Eastbourne
at 401.596.8663 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More about Five
New England Songs
Composer’s Notes – By Peter Niedmann
Five New England Songs
movements of the work:
1. One Musician is Sure
(Text: Ralph Waldo Emerson)
2. At Dawn of the Year
(Text: Sandra Niles, a current Chorus singer and Westerly resident)
3. New England’s Annoyances
(Text: Edward Johnson)
4. Solace He Finds in the
Sea (Text: John Townsend Trowbridge)
5. Where is the Master of
Music? (Text: Henry van Dyke)
New England Songs was
commissioned by the Chorus of Westerly in the summer 2012 to honor its founding
music director, George Kent. Because I
had sung in the chorus and studied organ with Mr. Kent, the commission was a
wonderful opportunity for me to thank him for his great inspiration and
George Kent is New England — born in Westerly, RI
and raised in Pawcatuck, Connecticut; studied at a conservatory in
Massachusetts; made music and a family in Rhode Island; fell in love with the
mountains of New Hampshire; fished the cold waters of the Atlantic. The texts I chose for the 5-movement work,
therefore, are all by New England poets and explore various aspects of the
is Sure” is Ralph Waldo Emerson’s paean to his beloved Aeolian harp (a stringed
instrument placed in the window to receive the mystic stirrings of the wind to
make its music). Emerson believed the gentle harp sounds were spiritual and
connected to what he called the “Over-Soul.”
Those sounds are evoked in the music by bowed cymbal and vibraphone.
(a Chorus member) wrote the 2nd movement text, “At Dawn of the Year”
as a sensory celebration of the region’s four seasons. Starting with winter, she paints colorful
sketches of each season, returning in the last stanza to winter—the earth cycle
beginning anew. Each season is given to
a section of the chorus: winter to the basses singing over a slow, relentless
ostinato; spring’s light and life sung by the sopranos; the altos sing of
summer on a lake (New Hampshire’s Lake Ogontz, where the Chorus children have
their camp every August); fall’s fabulous foliage by the tenors (including
harmonic homage to two Kent favorites—Herbert Howells and jazz!)
Johnson’s “New England’s Annoyances” is a witty burlesque, poking fun at
stereotypes the English had about Colonial America. The song is over-the-top musical theatre,
including a beer-soaked “oom-pah” episode.
lobster fishing is alluded to in “Solace He Finds in the Sea” by John Townsend
Trowbridge. The music evokes the world
of the solitary lobsterman: the rolling, relentless power of the ocean in the
piano and organ scales and splashes of percussion (including an instrument
called an “ocean drum” and a buoy bell).
The middle section, sung by children, looks back to his boyhood days.
movement, “Where Is the Master of Music?” (by Henry van Dyke, former Pastor at
United Congregational Church, Newport) asks and ultimately answers, the
question: ‘What happens to music after it’s performed?’. The movement is in 3 parts: an opening organ
toccata, recalling Mr. Kent’s well-known skills at the instrument (the theme
built on pitches derived from the letters GEORGE KENT, and the section’s
length—76 measures—correlating to his age); a middle section—the chorus’
grieving exploration of the loss of their “master of music,”; and a concluding
grand fugue (another Kent passion) built on the poem’s “answer”: The glory of
music endures in the depth of the human soul.
does. Molte grazie, Maestro!
4 pm performance tickets
6 pm performance tickets