Season XVI: Concert Season 2016-2017

Strong ties exist between the ACC and Salem Methodist Church.  Salem provides space for our weekly rehearsals and houses our music library.  But the connection runs much deeper. Several members of the Salem community support the ACC financially and some members of the ACC also sing in Salem’s Chancel Choir.  Salem has been the venue for numerous ACC concerts over the past several seasons and our Christmas concerts at Salem have become a tradition. Additionally, I serve as Worship Associate, Director of Choral Music, and Music Director and Conductor of the Salem-St. Louis Chamber Orchestra at Salem.

Our first concert is at Salem, entitled Star-Made Shadows!   The Salem-St. Louis Chamber Orchestra will present a concerto from Anton Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons in each concert this season beginning with Autumn on October 8th.   An October night is the perfect time to see the Northern Lights, the title of a work by Norwegian composer, Ola Gjeilo the Chorale will share. Being alone at night is the setting of poems by Sara Teasdale’s Stars (set by Latvian composer, Eriks Esenvalds) and James Agee’s Sure On This Shining Night in a well-known setting by Samuel Barber.  Also on this program is Esenvalds’ setting of another Teasdale poem, Only in Sleep.  The ACC has performed several works by Eric Whitacre and on the program is Whitacre’s Sleep.

The Chamber Orchestra continues the mystery theme with Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus.  Also on the program, Eric Whitacre’s orchestral writing shines in his October for string orchestra and percussion.  Water Night was originally a choral setting of a poem by Octavio Paz (performed by the ACC in Season I ) and is presented tonight in Whitacre’s version for strings.

Season XVI continues in two December concerts.  On December 3rd, the Chorale and Salem-St. Louis Chamber Orchestra present Gloria in Excelsis at Salem. The concert will be presented again on Sunday December 4th at Lutheran Church of the Resurrection.  In keeping with our mission to support non-profit organizations, the December 4th concert will benefit Feed My People for the seventh year.  (A free-will offering will be taken and patrons are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to help stock the shelves in the food pantry.)

Included in the December programs is Vivaldi’s concerto, Winter, and Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Greensleeves among the orchestral selections.  The Vivaldi’s ever-popular Gloria for choir and orchestra is featured along with favorite modern and traditional carols.  The audience is invited to join with the Chorale and Chamber Orchestra in singing traditional carols including Silent Night by candlelight, the perfect ending to this concert.

On March 11th the Chorale and Salem-St. Louis Chamber Orchestra present an inspiring concert at Salem entitled Not One Sparrow.  The concert will be repeated March 12th at Olivette Missionary Baptist Church.  John Rutter’s beautiful  Requiem is an emotionally moving centerpiece for this concert.  Also on the program are works by Byrd and Gretchaninov.  The Chamber Orchestra will present Vivaldi’s Spring and Vaughan Williams’ incredible Lark Ascending.

Back by popular demand — a special treat in this concert will be icon music educator Mr. Dello Thedford leading his Gospel Symphonic Choir and the ACC in music from the African-American tradition.  The program will close with a rousing rendition of Amazing Grace as the ACC, Symphonic Gospel Choir, and the Chamber Orchestra join forces.

Season XVI closes with Bring We Garlands  at Salem Methodist Church.  Love will be in bloom at our season finale!  Music for this concert includes Gerald Finzi’s beautiful Romance, Vivaldi’s Summer from The Four Seasons, Eric Whitacre’s hauntingly beautiful Five Hebrew Love Songs, setting the poetry of his wife, Hila Pitmann.  Also, songs by James Mulholland and Finzi’s charming song cycle, Let Us Garlands Bring featuring baritone Christopher Stanfill and accompanied by the Salem-St. Louis Chamber Orchestra are programmed for this delightful concert.

Come, listen with your heart!  All of our concerts are free this season — no ticket required!  Come hear the beautiful singing of the Chorale and playing of the Chamber Orchestra.  You’ll be glad you did!

– Stephen