A Choral Flourish

“A Choral Flourish” to be Performed in First Baptist Church on Sunday

• It’s a seasonal concert filled with the promise of spring, complete with joyous sounds to match. The music was specifically chosen by John Delorey, director of choral music at WPI, to celebrate the new concert venue and rehearsal space at First Baptist Church, where the concert is being held.

April 8, 2015
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In addition to the music at its regular services, First Baptist presents a variety of music and arts events, including organ recitals, choral performances of major works, art exhibitions, and drama. A special feature of the church is the main sanctuary, which has a four-manual, six-division, 81-rank Theo Gilbert/Stephen Russell organ, which is moved into the center of the chancel for concerts and recitals.

“I chose some beautiful a cappella works—folk tune arrangements and early music—for both the men and the women to explore the warm acoustics of the church,” Delorey says. “[They] will be followed by some tour de force chorus and piano arrangements to feature our accompanists—Mack Wilberg’s “Cindy” and Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

“The concert will end with three pieces to show the full acoustic range of the venue, the sanctuary. They are St. John the Revelator for chorus and piano, Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb for chorus and organ, and Daniel Pinkham’s Fanfare, for chorus, brass, percussion, and organ.”

The singers are members of the WPI Festival Chorus, which features members of Alden Voices (women’s chorus) and the WPI Glee Club, (men’s chorus). Linette Davis is president of Alden Voices and Nicolas Adami-Sampson is the president of the Glee Club.

Who: William Ness, the WPI Festival Chorus, featuring members of the Alden Voices and Glee Club, with special guest vocalist Michael Calmés
What: “A Choral Flourish”
Where: First Baptist Church, 111 Park Ave.
When: Sunday, April 12, at 3 p.m.

“I work with Linette closely to make both Alden Voices and Glee Club the best that they can be,” says Adami-Sampson. “We have moved our rehearsal space from Alden to First Baptist this year. This concert on the 12th will be the first time that the entire Festival Chorus will be performing there. I am very excited to be showing off the work the Chorus has done over the past two terms.”

Davis points out that both vocal ensembles are not audition-based, but members of these choruses are allowed to audition for more elite vocal groups. “Nick and I oversee the operations of these groups,” she says. They are more than singing organizations; we have several social events every term. The soloists on Saturday are Sarah Roth, Nicolas Hewgley, Ellie Coffey, and Brian Healy.”

Delorey says joining the chorus for Fanfares will be Michael Calmés, who “sang for the composer, Daniel Pinkham, at King’s Chapel in Boston.”

Calmés is a critically acclaimed tenor who has achieved a distinguished record of performances in concerts, recitals, oratorio, and opera. Since making his debut with the Boston Lyric Opera Company in 1982, he has maintained an active schedule as a guest soloist with numerous choruses, orchestras, and other ensembles.

The celebrated composer Pinkham wrote a series of song cycles for Calmés. In 1988, he made his solo debut in Paris at La Madeleine with James David Christie, organist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, presenting the world premiere of Marian Antiphons, composed for and dedicated to Calmés.

When not singing a cappella, all of the vocalists will be accompanied by pianist and organist William Ness. He is currently the minister of music and arts at First Baptist, an American Baptist Church, where he conducts three singing choirs and two bell choirs. As an accompanist he has performed with many choral organizations. In November 2012 he premiered an organ and brass performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 at First Baptist with the WPI Brass Ensemble, directed by Douglas Weeks.

“We are very excited to be performing with him,” says Adami-Sampson. “This concert is our spring bonanza. We want to share with the community great music and a fun afternoon.”

– BY DAVID SNEADE