On Sunday, April 27 at 3 p.m., the 130-voice VocalEssence Chorus will perform alongside the Gustavus Choir, at Bethel University’s Benson Great Hall in Tchaikovsky for Voices. Minnesota Public Radio’s classical music expert John Birge will host a pre-concert conversation about the renowned Russian composer. The soul-stirring Tchaikovsky for Voices will be the final concert of the 45th season by VocalEssence. Two other collegiate choruses, the Bethel Choir, and the Luther Nordic Choir, will also participate in the concert.
The famed VocalEssence ensemble, in combination with these acclaimed collegiate choirs, will welcome spring 300 voices strong with the music of Pyotr Tchaikovsky, who once wrote: “Music is indeed the most beautiful of all Heaven’s gifts to humanity wandering in the darkness. Alone it calms, enlightens, and stills our souls.” The program will showcase Tchaikovsky’s The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, composed in 1878 from one of the most celebrated Eucharistic services of the Russian Orthodox Church, a liturgy that Tchaikovsky wrote would have every listener “stirred to the very depth of his being.”
“Tchaikovsky was a great admirer of the music from his native Orthodox Church, and The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom was a labor of love for him,” said Philip Brunelle, founder and artistic director, VocalEssence. “The piece’s haunting and austere sound delivered with the power of 300 voices will create a sublime experience for our audience — a truly grand finale to the season.”
The music of Tchaikovsky will be enhanced by readings in Russian and English of poetry from the time of Tchaikovsky. In addition to the Tchaikovsky, each of the college choirs will sing a solo set of music chosen by their conductor.
Tickets for Tchaikovsky for Voices are available for $20 and up; youth ages 6-18 and students with a valid college ID are eligible for half-price tickets. For more information about this concert and to purchase tickets, please call 612-371-5656 or visit www.vocalessence.org.
VocalEssence, called “one of the irreplaceable music ensembles of our time” by Dana Gioia, past chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, impacts thousands of students, singers, and composers each year through its initiative programs, contests, and support for innovative art. VocalEssence was founded in 1969 and has debuted more than 150 commissions and world premieres. For more information, visit www.vocalessence.org.