Musical treats in store
WORTHINGTON -- Musical treats precede next Friday's tricks, as District 518 sixth- through 12th-grade musicians perform tonight and Monday. Leading the way are Worthington Middle School (WMS) orchestra and choir students, who are in concert at Wo...
WORTHINGTON -- Musical treats precede next Friday's tricks, as District 518 sixth- through 12th-grade musicians perform tonight and Monday.
Leading the way are Worthington Middle School (WMS) orchestra and choir students, who are in concert at Worthington High School (WHS) at 7 p.m. today.
"The eighth graders have some drama and special effects planned for their piece 'Rosin-Eating Zombies from Outer Space,'" promised Melanie Loy, District 518 orchestra director. "They always look forward to playing that one."
Also on tap for the 20 seventh- and eighth-grade string players is "Dos Fuegos," a contemporary number by Robert Sieving that was commissioned for an Edina middle school in 2001.
"We have a larger sixth-grade group this year -- 27 students -- and they will play a version of 'The William Tell Overture,'" said Loy. "Together, we give the concert a patriotic opening with 'The Star-Spangled Banner.'"
WMS choir director Cindy Anderson continues that patriotic theme with her 275 choral students. Their concert portion includes a few American folk songs, and the seventh-graders are to sing "I Am America." The eighth graders will deliver a poignant "In Flanders Fields," with lyrics taken from the classic poem by World War I field surgeon Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae.
"It's a very touching and emotional piece," expressed Anderson, "and I'm hoping they can convey that in their musical representation. Thinking ahead to Veterans Day and the elections, and with our country at war, we wanted to honor our armed services people in some way."
This is the second year the WMS fall concert will take place at WHS, which Anderson said alleviated past problems with parking and seating for attendees.
On Monday, about 160 WHS choristers will share the stage with 27 WHS orchestra students, demonstrating classical musical fare with flair.
"The choral students will sing five movements of five different Mass settings from five composers of five time periods -- early Renaissance, late Baroque, Romantic, Classical and 20th century," explained Joseph Osowski, WHS choral director.
"The first Mass Ordinary was written in 1450 by Guillaume Machaut for Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and since then, every major composer has written at least one mass," continued Osowski.
Featured in Monday's concert will be Mass movements by Joseph Haydn, Leonhard Lechner, W. A. Mozart, Gabriel Faure and William Albright.
"Albright died unexpectedly at the age of 53 only 10 years ago," offered Osowski. "The Albright movement we're doing was commissioned for the Chichester Cathedral in Sussex, England, for its 900th birthday."
Osowski calls the Mass movements "a great teaching tool," as most are sung in Latin and allow him to share with his students information about history, composers' lives, world geography and classical languages.
Confided Osowski, "I do think they're getting a little tired of all the Latin, though."
Junior violinist Amber Kelley is featured as the choir sings Faure's "Sanctus."
"The music called for a violin soloist, and this is a great opportunity for a student to strengthen her string skills in a different setting, as opposed to playing as part of the orchestra," said Loy.
The WHS full orchestra joins with the choir on Handel's "Coronation Anthem," which has an interesting story all its own.
"Handel wrote four anthems for the coronation at Westminster Abbey of King George II in 1727, and they were so enthusiastically received that at least one of them has been performed at each English coronation ever since then," explained Osowski.
Handel certainly lives on in his music, as the WHS orchestra is set to play his "Concerto Grosso" on Monday, and at their Dec. 21 concert, the WHS choirs will perform the Christmas movements from his renowned "Messiah."
"It's going to be a really good concert," asserted Osowski of the pre-Halloween date. "I'm proud of how hard the students are working."
The Worthington Middle School choir and orchestra concert is 7 p.m. today at Worthington High School; admission is free. The Worthington High School orchestra and choir concert is Monday at 7 p.m. at Memorial Auditorium; admission is free, with freewill donations accepted.