Masterworks Performance Features Alma Symphony, Choirs

More than 180 singers and instrumentalists fill the Presbyterian Hall stage for Alma’s annual choral-orchestral masterworks concert.

<em>The masterworks concert, 2016</em> The masterworks concert, 2016

The Alma Symphony Orchestra and Alma College Choirs will join together to perform two musical masterpieces that embody classical music at its best — powerful, joyful, emotional and engaging.

The program will feature Gabriel Faure’s Requiem, Opus 48, and Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. The concerts will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 8 and 4 p.m. Sunday, April 9 in the Remick Heritage Center on the Alma College campus.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors 62 and up, and free for Alma College staff, students and youth 18 and under. Seating is reserved. Call (989) 463-7304 for ticket information.

“These two great choral-orchestra selections certainly qualify as masterworks,” says Murray Gross, music director and orchestra conductor.

“The Requiem is a very intimate, moving piece with gorgeous choral writing,” he says. “It has seven movements, and three of them feature solos sung by Alma College vocal students.”

<em>Will Nichols directs the Alma Choirs.</em> Will Nichols directs the Alma Choirs.The featured soloists are Grand Rapids senior baritone Josh Sejat, Greenville junior soprano Summer Eipper and Mears first-year baritone Andrew Wiegand.

Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms is “an exciting work,” says Gross, that is sung in Hebrew with Biblical text from the Psalms. The middle movement features a solo by Alma Middle School student Adam Dixon.

“Even though the work is clearly religious, the music has some similarities with ‘West Side Story,’” says Gross. “Bernstein couldn’t resist incorporating a rhythmic feel to this piece.

“The work ends with Psalm 133, which states, ‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity,’” he says. “This was Bernstein’s theme and intention for this piece — a universal sentiment for people to live in unity.”

The concert concludes with “Make Our Garden Grow,” a short piece by Bernstein from the operetta “Candide.”

“While the Chichester Psalms ends quietly, the rousing ‘Make Our Garden Grow’ makes for a great ending for this wonderful concert,” says Gross.

The more than 100-member Alma College Choirs include the College Chorale, Glee Club and Alma Choir. The approximately 80-member Alma Symphony Orchestra includes a mix of professional musicians from the mid-Michigan area and Alma College student-performers.

Story published on March 22, 2017