The Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut: And the Bugles Sang ...
(Posted on April 23, 2012) 8 p.m., Saturday, April 28, 2012
Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts
One of the pre-eminent choral ensembles in New England, The Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut under the leadership of Dr. Carole Ann Maxwell, pays tribute to all soldiers, veterans, and their families in a special performance, And the Bugles Sang ..., at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 28, 2012 at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. In addition to the concert, there will be an art exhibition featuring a sampling of works by military Veterans from various art therapy programs at VA Connecticut Healthcare on view in the lobby of the Quick Center. Tickets are $35. All active military and veterans receive a 25% ticket discount.
The program for And the Bugles Sang ... features "The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace" by the Welsh composer Karl Jenkins (b. 1944), which was commissioned by the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds to commemorate the start of the new millennium in 2000. "The Armed Man" melds classical, ethnic, and ecclesiastical traditions for our time. The masterwork continues a 600-year tradition of using a fifteenth-century French song, "L'homme armé," as the foundation of the Mass, and the composition has an overall message acknowledging the end of a destructive, war-torn century while also looking ahead to a more peaceful millennium. The program also features "Last Letter Home" by Lee Hoiby (1926-2011), with Edward Pleasant baritone soloist. The composer, who is best known for his songs and operas, based "Last Letter Home" (2006) on the words of Private Jesse A. Givens of Springfield, Mo., who died in Iraq on May 1, 2003, at age 34. Givens's letter to his wife and two children was to be opened only in the event of his death. Mrs. Givens gave Hoiby permission to set her husband's words to music, creating a haunting memorial to all soldiers and their families. "Hymn to the New Age" by Hoiby, and "Untraveled Worlds" by Paul Halley (1952), the internationally known composer, conductor, keyboardist, and former member of the Paul Winter Consort, complete the program.
The Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut (MCC), which is currently celebrating its 27th Anniversary Season, develops and promotes an appreciation of choral music to educate its members and the general public in the musical arts. It mines an extensive repertoire that embraces musical works of all periods and genres including classical, contemporary, opera, and pop. The Choir has performed to enthusiastic audiences in Rome, Florence, Prague, Vienna and Budapest, and returned to Carnegie Hall in January, 2011, for a performance of Karl Jenkins' Stabat Mater. It will tour Ireland in June 2012.
MCC was originally founded in 1984 by alumni of the Fairfield University Chamber Singers wishing to continue a musical association with Dr. Carole Ann Maxwell, the artistic director of The Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut since its inception. Recognizing the talent and achievements of the Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut, acclaimed ensembles such as the Greater Bridgeport Symphony Orchestra, the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, and the Wallingford Symphony Orchestra continue to seek out the Choir for concert collaborations. MCC has also been privileged to perform with both Distinguished Concerts International of New York and Mid-America Productions at Carnegie Hall. Besides leading the MCC, Dr. Maxwell has served as Director of Choral and Liturgical Music for Fairfield University since 1980, and has been the Conductor of the Summer Festival Chorus at the Quick Center since its beginnings 16 years ago.
While MCC focuses first on its artistry, it is also keenly aware of its responsibility to increase public awareness of, and involvement in, the arts in our area. The Choir's Outreach Program, the Mendelssingers, sends Choir members to hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and various community events to bring the wonder and awe of live choral music to those special venues.
Tickets are available through the Quick Center Box Office: (203) 254-4010, or toll-free 1-877-ARTS-396 (1-877-278-7396). Tickets can also be purchased online at http://www.fairfield.edu/quick.
Vol. 44, No. 279