Choirs to raise their voices in “spectacular” style

By wayne.steffen on March 14, 2017 @ 4:44pm

A group of excellent choirs will come together for a “Choral Spectacular” in March.

The Fresno Pacific University Concert Choir and San Joaquin Chorale join the San Jose State University Choraliers at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 24, 2017, in Shaghoian Concert Hall, 2770 E. International Ave., Fresno. Admission is $15 for general audiences and $10 for seniors and students & FPU community, payable at the door.

The evening’s centerpiece will be a pair of short masterworks, beginning with the Schubert Mass D167 in G major, performed by the FPU Concert Choir. Composed in 1815, this short mass is an ideal model of the bridge between the Classic and Romantic choral art, combining simple elegant lines and balanced phrases of the Classical style with Schubert’s own edition of the mass text. The work begins with a Kyrie that resembles Mozart’s simple and satisfying choral writing, and concludes with an Agnus Dei that calls forward the increasing passion of Romanticism. In between, Schubert offers a varied and declamatory presentation of the mass, featuring mixed choir with soprano, tenor and bass soloists.

The San Joaquin Chorale will sing the Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem in D minor, Op. 48. Completed in its full version in 1893, the piece was both a response to, and foreshadowing, of other works in the genre. Fauré chose to turn away from the dramatic, bombastic, hellfire of Verdi and Berlioz, and approached this mass for the dead with more hope, peace and light. While there are still echoes of the Dies Irae, listeners are more likely to recall the sweet Pie Jesu, or the glorious shouts of “Hosanna!” in the Sanctus. The final In Paradisum delivers a peace and rest, unlike any other requiem before its time and rarely matched since. Fauré himself orchestrated several versions of his work; this concert will feature John Rutter’s edition of the fully orchestrated Requiem.

The Choraliers will perform its touring repertoire, and all choirs will join for a piece composed by Kevin Memley, who will accompany both FPU choirs and is becoming a noted area composer. Special guests will be the Clovis East High School Timberwolf Chorus, directed by Carlin Truong.

The choirs

The Concert Choir is FPU’s premier vocal group, an auditioned mixed ensemble that performs widely at schools, churches, on tour and at choral festivals. Repertoire comes from all periods, ancient to the 21st century, a cappella and accompanied. The conductor is Bethany Lynn Alvey, D.M.A., director of choral activities.

The San Joaquin Chorale was founded in 1994 and conducted until 2016 by Roy L. Klassen, D.M.A., emeritus music professor. The SJC is an auditioned community choir dedicated to quality literature of sacred and secular repertoire. Membership is drawn from communities throughout Fresno and Tulare Counties. Conductor Daniel Bishop is visual and performing arts administrator for Clovis Unified School District.

The San Jose State University Choraliers is an advanced chamber ensemble comprised of undergraduate and graduate students. The choir performs a wide variety of repertoire at the highest level. This ensemble allows students to learn the refined techniques of small-group singing. The Choraliers perform nationally and internationally as well as within California. The conductor is Jeffrey Benson, D.M.A.