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Two local chorale groups combine for Friday concert

Vance Brand Auditorium
Longmont Symphony 2 _ credit Nathan Pulley-01
Photo provided by the Longmont Symphony Orchestra.


A one-night-only collaboration between two Boulder County choral groups showcasing two epic works is headed for Vance Brand Civic Auditorium on Friday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Cantabile and Rocky Mountain Choral are joining together to present R Vaughn Williams “Serenade to Music” and Don Forrest’s “Jubilate Deo.” They will be accompanied by more than 35 members of the Longmont Symphony Orchestra, M. Elizabeth Frels, spokeswoman for the event, said via email.

Cantabile is an auditioned choral ensemble dedicated to connecting humanity through choral music, Frels said. Cantabile performs a wide range of music, including jazz, gospel, folk music from many lands and other international works.

 “Our members are volunteers with a variety of ages, backgrounds, and music experience, and include trained musicians as well as skilled amateurs,” according to the group’s website. Cantabile performs three programs each year.

Rocky Mountain Chorale is a community-based choir in Boulder County, composed of seasoned singers of all ages, according to the group. “To engage our audiences, the Chorale sings a wide variety of diverse music for creatively themed concerts. RMC is a welcoming group with a high level of excellence and sense of fun while striving to be a bridge to connect and inspire the community,” the group states.

Brian Stone, artistic director of Cantabile, said in his director’s notes, Friday night’s performance is the culmination of more than three years planning, “and we are absolutely thrilled to present these two beautiful works to you.”

Vaughan Williams composed “Serenade to Music” in 1938, in celebration of Sir Henry Wood, a British conductor of the late 18th and 19th centuries, and the 50th anniversary of Wood’s first concert in London, Stone said.

The first performance combined instrumentalists from the London Philharmonic, London Symphony and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, he said. “Vaughan Williams seemed to understand that music not only had a direct impact on those who heard it, but also could reach beyond the bounds of a performance to support the world in important ways,” Stone said.

Dan Forrest’s “Jubilate Deo” brings to life the global aspect of the traditional Psalm 100 text, “O be joyful in the Lord all ye lands” by setting it in seven different languages and drawing from a wide spectrum of musical influences, Jimmy Howe, artistic director, Rocky Mountain Chorale said in his director’s notes.

“Each movement combines some characteristics of its language group’s musical culture with the composer’s own musical language,” Howe said.

The opening movement sets the ancient liturgical Latin translations for the Psalm in a rather American musical idiom. The second movement sets the “from age to age” portion of the text in Hebrew and Arabic. Movement three uses Mandarin Chinese with the orchestra evoking the sounds of traditional Asian instruments and the fourth shifts to Africa, setting celebratory portions of the text in Zulu.

Movement five represents Latin America, setting Spanish text to folk-song melody. The sixth movement “Song of the Earth.” portrays the Earth itself singing — at first wordlessly, but eventually findings its own voice, Howe said.

The finale unites many of the key themes and cultures from previous movements with other material, both old and new, as all the earth sings as one, “omnis terra, jubilate!” Howe said.