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St. Charles Singers: 'American Reflections'
Chamber Choir to Spotlight Radiant Works By Revered Composers

Categorized as: Performing Arts & Dance
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The St. Charles Singers, conducted by Jeffrey Hunt, will cap off its 33rd concert season with "American Reflections," featuring the American music that the professional mixed-voice chamber choir will tour in England later in the month.

“These are radiant works by revered composers,” says Hunt, the ensemble’s founder and music director. “They mirror and speak to our national spirit.”

Some of the reflections radiate from bodies of water. The concert’s centerpiece, Dominick Argento’s "Walden Pond," from 1996, is a sublime five-song cycle for chorus, three cellos, and harp. Inspired by author Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden,” a meditation on nature and self-reliance, the virtuosic, evocative work comprises movements titled “The Pond,” “Angling,” “Observing,” “Extolling,” and “Walden Revisited.”

Other water works include Eric Whitacre’s “Water Night,” based on an Octavio Paz poem; William Hawley’s “Beautiful River,” a choral setting of the gospel hymn “Shall We Gather at the River?”; and James Erb’s arrangement of the tender folk song “Shenandoah,” which speaks of the Missouri River.

The mixed-voice choir of 32 accomplished singers will also perform the following American works under Hunt’s direction:

-- Randall Thompson’s “Praise Ye the Lord” from his “Twelve Canticles” for unaccompanied mixed voices

-- Aaron Copland and Irving Fine’s arrangement of “Long Time Ago” for chorus and piano

-- Jake Runestad’s dramatic “As the Caged Bird Sings,” based on a text by celebrated African-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, whose parents were freed slaves

-- Morten Lauridsen’s expressive and deeply thoughtful setting of German poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Dirait-on” (So They Say)

-- Stacey V. Gibbs’s captivating arrangement of the traditional spiritual “Great God Almighty”

-- Kevin Siegfried’s arrangement of “I Hunger and Thirst,” a traditional Shaker song

-- Shawn Kirchner’s soulful rendering of the beautiful folk tune “Bright Morning Stars” and Kirchner’s bluegrass-infused setting of the 19th-century spiritual “Unclouded Day”

The concert includes one non-American work, the Newfoundland folk song “She’s Like the Swallow,” arranged by English composer Edward Chapman. It’s a selection from the St. Charles Singers’ critically acclaimed 2016 album "Bushes & Briars: Folk-Songs for Choirs Books 1 & 2" (MSR Classics).

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