Fresh off a seven-concert tour, the Marshall University Chamber Choir returns home for a one-time performance beginning at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 30, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 3000 Washington Blvd, in Huntington.
The free concert features the same compositions from the recent tour that spanned across West Virginia, Maryland, D.C. and Virginia in just five days. Under the direction of Dr. David Castleberry, College of Arts and Media associate dean and director of choral activities, this select ensemble will perform works from the past five centuries, with music from 16th century compositions by Monteverdi, Gibbons and Hassler, to a newly written work, “David’s Lamentations,” by student composer Sean Price.
“We intend for this concert to showcase music that appeals to all tastes,” said Castleberry.
The program’s centerpiece is by Benjamin Britten, a central figure of 20th century British classical music. Titled “Hymn to St. Cecilia,” the piece had special meaning for Britten and his audience: Britten was born on St. Cecilia Day, a holiday of the Roman Catholic Church in honor of the patron saint of musicians.
Last fall, the music world celebrated the 100th anniversary of Britten’s birth, which Castleberry said motivated the choir to feature his work.
“‘Hymn to St. Cecilia’ presents demands that would challenge even the best professional choirs, but our singers have really risen to the task,” said Castleberry. “Our chorus enjoys the music and sings it with confidence and authority.”
The latter portion of the concert features a variety of American and international works, including folk song settings by Stephen Paulus and Aaron Copland.
The Chamber Choir has been heard on West Virginia Public Radio, West Virginia Public Television, CD recordings and in numerous tours, including a 2012 tour in France that featured a performance at Paris’ famed Notre-Dame Cathedral.