Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sweet Jubilation at Humboldt Symphony, Chorale and University Singers Holiday Concert

In what’s becoming a holiday tradition, the Humboldt Symphony, Humboldt Chorale and University Singers perform a work for voice and orchestra that celebrates the season.

This year it’s a Christmas Midnight Mass by the French baroque composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier. Not only is this work rarely performed, it is a rare example of a baroque Mass that uses melodies from popular music of the time— the Christmas carols that the French call noels.

“The carols give this Mass its predominant character of tunefulness, simplicity, and sweet jubilation,” said Harley Muilenburg, HSU professor of Choral & Vocal Music and director of the University Singers. “The use of organ and soloists provide contrast to the full volume of sound created by ensemble singers and orchestra.”

In the evening’s first half, the Humboldt Symphony plays a varied program of short works (a bold overture by Verdi, a popular prelude by Debussy, and one of Dvorak’s best-known chamber work, the Serenade in D) before performing Beethoven’s First Symphony in C Major. Considered by some to be Beethoven’s most accessible symphony, on its debut it was immediately hailed as a masterpiece, a witty and innovative introduction to a great composer still just 29 years old.

Paul Cummings conducts the Humboldt Symphony. The Humboldt Chorale is a community-based group with members ranging in age from teenagers to seniors, directed by Carol McWhorter Ryder. Vocal soloists for the Midnight Mass are Kevin Sharkey, Kevin Richards, Katherine Kinley, Sarah Benzinger, Bill Ryder and Sara Young.

The combined Symphony, Chorale and University Singers concert is Friday December 11 and Sunday December 13 at 8 PM in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $7 general, $3 students/seniors, from the HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. Free to HSU students with ID.

Media: Tri-City Weekly, Humboldt State Now, Arcata Eye, Humboldt Beacon

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