The Berea College Concert Choir and Chamber Singers will present their 2017 fall concert “Bach, Brahms, and Bluegrass” in Gray Auditorium at 3 p.m. on Sunday, November 12. The public is invited to attend, and there is no charge for admission. Stephen Bolster will conduct the choirs. They will be joined by special guest performers the Clavere Piano Duo (Javier and Lindsay Clavere) and the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble, led by Al White. Berea College students can receive convocation credit for attending the concert.
A motet for double choir, “Ich lasse dich nicht,” by Johann Sebastian Bach, accompanied by Lindsay Clavere on piano and Charles Hoffman on cello, will begin the concert. The Chamber Singers then will perform the complete set of Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op. 52, accompanied by the Clavere Piano Duo (piano four hands) on the College’s new Steinway D concert grand piano. Duets and quartets, as well as the entire choral ensemble, will be featured in the set’s various waltzes. The Bach and Brahms pieces will be performed in German.
The second half of the program will showcase a new, emerging genre of music – the combination of classical choral music and traditional Bluegrass music, performed by Berea’s Concert Choir and Bluegrass Music Ensemble. The centerpiece is Come Away to the Skies: A High, Lonesome Mass by Wes Ramsay and Tim Sharp. This composition is a winsome set of folk-hymn arrangements originating in the mid-19th century collections of the Sacred Harp and Southern Harmony, and organized around the ordinary of the Mass, a significant liturgy of the church. The hymnbooks containing the music were unique to the southern region of the United States. Featured pre-existing tunes include Come Away to the Skies; Brethren, We Have Met to Worship (Holy Manna); Do Lord, Oh Do Lord, Oh Do Remember Me; Brightest and Best; Star in the East; and What Wondrous Love is This? Since its premiere in October 2011, the work has received acclaim in dozens of performances throughout the U.S. and abroad.
The concert will end with two world premieres of pieces arranged by Wes Ramsay especially for the Berea College Concert Choir and Bluegrass Ensemble. River Medley—Show Me the Way is a medley of three well-known tunes about rivers, including such favorites as On Jordan’s Stormy Banks (PROMISED LAND), Down to the River to Pray, and Shall We Gather at the River? An inspirational song about John the Baptist, Get Up, John is an arrangement of a famous Bill Monroe tune that was first performed by Emmylou Harris. It features virtuosic string passages for mandolin and banjo.
The concert will be live streamed and available to view here: https://livestream.com/accounts/5135608/events/7922539