It's a pleasure to support the choral arts in Rochester by listening to inspired singing in the Classical Idol Competition, an annual fundraiser for the Rochester Oratorio Society. I've been honored to served as the emcee for several years. This year I took a few pictures from the stage. Enjoy!
The Rochester Oratorio Society announced a commission this week in celebration of the upcoming 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and other milestones. The ROS will commission composer Glenn McClure to write a piece including texts, instruments and musical resources from Ghana, West Africa, and Western New York.
Over the first weekend of October, nearly 8,000 people experienced Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" performed by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Rochester Oratorio Society in the newly-renovated Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. One patron blogged about what she saw and heard, and she inspired me to share this clip with you.
First of all, Eastman Theatre is a MESS, according to Eastman student and WXXI intern Dylan Smith. He poked his head in the other day, and tipped us off to the fact that the School is posting pictures. Thanks, Dylan!
Workers have less than two months to finish major renovations before the RPO opens the new digs October 8th, 9th, and 10th with a performance of Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony.” The Rochester Oratorio Society will sing the famous ending (“Ode to Joy.”) Members of the Society got an e-mail this week announcing the group has been asked to sing Verdi’s “Requiem” next May with the RPO. This is a significant change. The orchestra’s current schedule lists Verdi's “Aida” in concert May 20th and 22th. So now, as it stands, ROS will bookend the season of Philharmonic concerts.
On Saturday night, a panel of judges, including WXXI Music Director Julia Figueras, named Rochester's Classical Idol in the 3rd Annual Contest to benefit the Rochester Oratorio Society.
The First Prize winner was soprano Jacqueline Noparstak of New York City. She walked away with $1,500 and the chance to solo with the ROS. Second Prize and $1,000 went to baritone Evan Jones, and the Third Prize winner was soprano Elena O'Connor, who earned $500 for her performance of Rachmaninoff's mournful art song "Ne krasavica pri mne." Jones won the Audience Favorite Award.
My score of Carmina Burana is pretty gross. Coffee-stained, marked up, dog-eared. Once I left it on the kitchen counter and made enchiladas, so it even sports a few tomato stains. Iâ€™ve been using it for about a decade, and I think Iâ€™ve performed Carl Orff's work about eight times.
Maybe Iâ€™ll trade it in someday and start with a fresh copy. But for now, this one is a well-loved map of a favorite country. A smutronstalle. A wild strawberry place.
I sang Carmina Burana with the Rochester Phil and Rochester Oratorio Society last May, and that concert will air on Monday, September 1st at 8:00 p.m. on Classical 91.5 FM.
Being a radiohead, I love the sound of sound, you know? Recorded sound. In this case, I admit the broadcast has nothing on the live experience. But itâ€™s still worth a listen.
Eric Townell, Music Director of the Rochester Oratorio Society, just announced heâ€™s forming a new choral group called RESONANZ. (Iâ€™m not sure how to say this. REH-sonance? Reso-NAHNZ? Reso-NAANZ? He's spelling it with all caps.)
Heâ€™ll be holding auditions on Monday, September 8th.
Itâ€™ll be a 40-voice choir, roughly the same size as the Lyric Chorale, the Bach Festival Chorus, the Eastman Chorale, the Irondequoit Chorale, the Rochester Gay Men's Chorus, the Rochester Women's Community Chorus, and the Gregory Kunde singers.
â€śIts purpose will be twofold,â€ť he wrote to Rochester Oratorio Society members in an e-mail. â€śa) to increase the ROS's earned income through singing for hire, and b) to increase public awareness of ROS by performing a fresh mix of lighter music, seasonal music, Americana and event-specific music in non-traditional concert settings.â€ť
Townell says two people have made leading contributions to fund the start-up, the music has been ordered, the room reserved, and the gigs lined up. The mind boggles. He's a busy guy.
Click here to hear conductor Eric Townell and myself talk about the Rochester Oratorio Society's recent trip to China. The show, recorded August 1st, was hosted by WXXI's Peter Iglinski. It's about 50 minutes long.