Coming up next for CONCORA: Fresh takes on some favorite choral masterworks! Scroll down for an interview with Chris Shepard about how CONCORA is preparing this extraordinary concert for you.

PLUS: Our friends at the Hartford Symphony Orchestra have shared an insider's discount on tickets for an upcoming magical event! Scroll down for details.

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CONCORA (and friends!) sing
Choral Masterworks
Saturday, November 18 2017, 7:30pm
Saint Thomas the Apostle Church
872 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford, CT
Handel, Mozart, Fauré, Mendelssohn...Their music has been at the heart of the choral repertoire from the beginning.
Randall Thompson, Leonard Bernstein, Eric Whitacre, Morten Lauridsen... Theirs are newer voices whose music has been embraced as classics for our time.
On Saturday, November 18, CONCORA will offer fresh interpretations of these choral masterworks, performing them as you might never have heard them before.
Joining the all-professional ensemble for parts of the program are three of Connecticut’s finest youth choirs: the select choruses from Bristol Central, Ledyard, and Litchfield high schools. 

CONCORA's Artistic Director Chris Shepard reminds us that "masterworks" include not only the "big" choral works such as masses, requiems, and passions, but smaller works that take on "masterwork" status due to their beauty and musical merit, of course, but perhaps more importantly, because of the degree to which singers and listeners like you embrace them and hold them close.

The November 18 "Extraordinary Concert" demonstrates this to a T, with a selection of masterworks large and small, each one a gem in this concert of crown jewels.

For a professional ensemble like CONCORA, the pleasure in sharing this beautiful music with you comes not just by performing these "classics" on a concert; that's easy, and of course, this repertoire is performed fairly often by choruses of all types. So what will make CONCORA's November 18 masterworks concert distinctive? 

In their rehearsals, Chris and the singers are doing much more than simply polishing familiar music in order to present a display of vocal virtuosity. Instead, they are digging deep, spending time to approach these familiar classics with fresh ears and a new curiosity, developing new understandings that they are eager to present in concert. 

For example, Chris asked the singers during rehearsal, what is it that makes Morten Lauridsen's music so distinctive - and so popular? What's the "hook" that makes choral music lovers glad to see it on any program?

"It's actually fairly simple: This music is all about legato," says Chris. "How one note connects to another, how the dissonances emerge from the stream of sound and disappear again as the music ebbs flows seamlessly. It's like a string of pearls."

But this is easier said than sung.

"Legato sounds easy; after all, it simply means to sing in a connected manner," Chris explained. "But not every choir can achieve a true sustained legato for an entire three- or four-minute selection. It's more difficult than it sounds and requires superior vocal technique and tremendous concentration and stamina. CONCORA's professional singers are producing a gorgeous, sustained, richly resonant choral legato, singing Lauridsen's 'O Nata Lux' in a way that many of our audience may never have experienced, even if they've heard it many times before."

Eric Whitacre's "Lux Arumque," another contemporary classic, presents very different challenges. "Where the Lauridsen calls for a rich, saturated sound, Whitacre's music calls for absolutely pure vocal production, with total control of the voice, even in the loudest passages. The singers must be able to instantly change instruments, if you will, to create a different sound than they've used thus far on the program. And the very end of the piece calls for a few sopranos to sustain a mere silver thread of sound over an entire page; it has to be audible, but just barely. Not every choir can do this, especially on a program that also calls for much richer, more colorful (and louder!) singing; few ensembles have this versatility. These singers are producing a range of vocal color that I really think is unmatched in our region."

Those richer sounds will be heard in a dazzling arrangement of "Ezekiel Saw the Wheel" by William Dawson, the quite perfect Cantique de Jean Racine by Gabriel Fauré, and three movements of the Mozart Requiem with which the program concludes.

"And this is why I hope many people will come to hear this concert," Chris said: "To leave expectations and familiarity at home, to come with fresh ears and a curious mind, to experience how even familiar music can be brand new when sung by a highly-skilled, truly versatile ensemble like CONCORA. Even the rehearsals have been exciting, as we explore new ways of singing together. I know that our audience will be thrilled with the entire experience."

On November 18, CONCORA's audience can expect a performance that is out of the ordinary - in fact, one might call it "Extraordinary."

What's on the program for November 18? Here's a sneak peek:

Joyous! Handel: “Sing Unto God” from Judas Maccabeus

Ethereal! Mendelssohn: “He Shall Give His Angels Charge over Thee” from Elijah

Ecstatic! Bernstein: “Gloria tibi” from Mass

Goosebumps! Thompson: “Ye Shall Have a Song” from Peaceable Kingdom

Dreamy! Lauridsen “O Nata Lux” from Lux Aeterna

Showstopper! Dawson: “Ezekiel Saw the Wheel”

Liquid gold! Whitacre “Lux aurumque”

Perfection! Fauré Cantique de Jean Racine

Thrilling! Mozart: Dies Irae, Confutatis, and Lacrymosa from Requiem

Plus selections performed by the three high school choirs!

Tickets are on sale now ($10-$55) and will also be available at the door. Advance purchase is recommended for preferred seating. Bring some friends and take advantage of group rates for parties of eight or more adult and senior general admission tickets (advance sales only, please).
Click here to join CONCORA on November 18 to experience choral classics for the first time, all over again.
Coming up in our next newsletter:

- Profiles of our guest high school choirs, their conductors, and some information about music they will sing for you

- A video preview from Artistic Director Chris Shepard about this concert

- Another  installment in our series of articles about the "metalworks" images that grace CONCORA's 2017-2018 series artwork
Attention Muggles! Here's a special pre-sale offer from our friends at the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Use the  code HOGWARTS18 to get your tickets before they go on sale to the general public. Don't miss this magical event right here in Hartford! Click on the image below to reserve your seats. 
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Join the conversation on CONCORA's social media pages! We post new content nearly every day, with news and notes of interest to lovers of classical music, choral music and singing, and the arts.
CONCORA’s 2017-2018 season is made possible through the generous gifts of many individual donors and with the generous support of the following foundations and institutions: the American Savings Foundation; the Greater Hartford Arts Council; the Richard P. Garmany Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving; the J. Walton Bissell Foundation; the William T. Sloper Trust for the Andrew J. Sloper Music Fund; the State of Connecticut, with the support of the Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts, which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; the Helen M. Saunders Charitable Foundation; the Edward C. & Ann T. Roberts Foundation; the Ensworth Charitable Foundation; the City of New Britain Commission on the Arts; the William and Alice Mortensen Foundation; and the Robert C. Vance Charitable Foundation.
Copyright © 2017 CONCORA, All rights reserved.

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