Adirondack Community Chorus to perform ‘Requiem for the Living’ | arts and entertainment

BOONVILLE — The Adirondack Community Chorus will perform “Requiem for the Living,” a five-movement work by composer Dan Forrest, at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 1 at the Presbyterian Church, 121 James St.

Choir director Peg Nuspliger chose the piece because, at first, she was intrigued by the unusual title. But she began to explore music. “I was impressed by the beauty of the music and knew that the talented choir musicians were up to the challenge of presenting such a complex piece,” she said in a statement.

Mr. Forrest’s choral compositions range from small choral works to long multi-movement works for choir and orchestra. His major work “Requiem for the Living” (2013) has become standard choral/orchestral repertoire with nearly 1,000 performances by ensembles around the world. He is Artist in Residence at Mitchell Road Presbyterian Church. Greenville, South Carolina

Soprano Claire Haile and tenor Michael Ferris will be the soloists for the May Day concert.

A traditional requiem is any music that accompanies a funeral mass in the Catholic Church. Its dramatic text has inspired many composers, including Mozart, Brahms and Fauré, whose concert requiems have also been performed by the Choir. In 2013, with “Requiem for the Living,” New York native Dan Forrest combined sections of the traditional requiem with biblical texts from Ecclesiastes and the Book of Job.

While the original score features a full orchestra, rich with harp and percussion, Rod Ventura will provide all the accompaniment along with the church’s historic pipe organ, which has been extensively restored and improved by the pipe organ builders. Kerner and Merchant of Syracuse.

“My challenge is to use the organ to match the intent of the orchestra and come as close as possible to the desired sound,” Ventura said in a press release. “The organ, by its very nature, can overshadow the choir, and for this piece I provide an accompaniment to support the sound of the choir.”

Like composer Forrest, director Nuspliger, soloist Haile and several other members of the choir, Mr. Ventura is a music teacher. He taught high school vocal music for 20 years at Adirondack Central School and was organist at Boonville Presbyterian Church for many years. He described “Requiem for the Living” as inspirational. “It’s a time when we can all take the opportunity to reflect, and there are quiet, reflective sections in the music,” he said. “There are also passages of anxiety and intensity.”

The emotions expressed in the five movements of Forrest’s requiem range from what the composer described as “a biting essay on the vanity and pain of existence” to three different representations of “heavens and earth, full of . ..glory”, inspired by images from the Hubble Space Telescope and images of Earth as seen from the International Space Station.

The Turning Point Chorus, a 13-singer a cappella group from the Watertown area, will open the concert with ‘Amazing Grace’, ‘It Is Well With my Soul’ and ‘Lord’s Prayer’. They will be joined by the men of the choir to close the concert with an “Irish Blessing”.

The concert is free but donations will be gladly accepted. The funds will be used to provide humanitarian aid to Ukrainian citizens through the efforts of Bo and Betty Krop, whose lives have been dedicated to helping the poor in Ukraine, the ancestral home of Bo’s family.

After 15 years and 20 humanitarian aid missions to the poorest villages in Ukraine, the Krops have continued from their home in Turin to provide development aid to poor Ukrainians by collecting donations from churches.

In the current Ukrainian crisis, the Krops are providing humanitarian aid through their direct Ukrainian sources, aid that is dedicated to saving lives and alleviating suffering.

“‘Requiem for the Living’ is an appropriate selection to play at this time, due to the situation in Ukraine,” said director Ms Nuspliger. “The final section depicts light and rest, and ends with a prayer – dona nobis pacem’ – ‘grant us peace’.

The program is made possible in part by the Kenneth V. and Jeanette Remp Sawyer Community Fund of the Northern New York Community Foundation.

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