BC Concert Choir and Chamber Singers to Perform on March 8
The Berea College (Ky.) Concert Choir and Chamber Singers will perform a concert at St. Mildred’s Catholic Church in Somerset on Friday evening, March 8 at 7:30 p.m. This concert is one performance during the choir’s 2013 spring concert tour that also includes appearances in Nashville, TN and Birmingham, AL. Admission is free and open to the public.
The Berea Concert Choir is a mixed ensemble of approximately 60 singers who perform a variety of music, both sacred and secular, from a range of historical periods. The Chamber Singers is a select group of 10 male singers from the choir who specialize in 20th Century vocal chamber music. They are conducted by Dr. Stephen Bolster, professor of music at Berea. Formed in 1949, the choir has given inspirational performances throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe for more than 50 years. Faculty pianist Lindsay Clavere will accompany the choir.
The first half of the program consists of sacred music for the spring season, in general, and for the Lenten Season. The concert opens with two choruses from the spring section of Franz Joseph Haydn’s oratorio, The Creation. It also features a group of Latin motets by contemporary composers appropriate to Lent, and the Five Mystical Songs by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams featuring several baritone soloists from the choir.
After a short group of pieces presented by student soloists, the second half of the program consists of American music of various styles and genres. The Chamber Singers will sing popular a capella music for men’s ensembles. The Concert Choir will perform Old American Songs, Part 1, a setting of famous American folk songs by Aaron Copland, followed by Dreamers, and inspiring work by Norman Dello Joio.
The concert will close with a set of African-American spirituals and two famous “rags”—Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag and Irving Berlin’s Alexander Ragtime Band.
Music Professor Dr. Stephen Bolster is Program Coordinator of the Berea Music Program. In addition to directing the Choir and Chamber Singers, bolster teaches voice, vocal methods and conducting. He holds music degrees from Dartmouth College, University of North Carolina and University of Colorado and has done post-doctoral study at College-Conservatory of Music of University of Cincinnati. A baritone, Bolster was a member of Robert Shaw Festival Singers from 1996-99. Among his many honors and awards, Bolster was named 1999-2000 College-University Teacher of the Year by the Kentucky Music Educators Association and in 2002 received the Kentucky Choral Directors Association’s Robert K. Baar Choral Excellence Award and Berea College’s prestigious Seabury Award for Excellence in Teaching. Bolster has been a member of the Berea music faculty since 1980. He and his wife are Honorary Alumnae of the College.
Under Bolster’s direction, the Berea Choir and Chamber Singers have toured annually. In the summer of 2007, the choir toured for two weeks in China, performing for large audiences in five cities and on Chinese television. In the summer of 2002, the ensemble toured in Italy and Switzerland, including performances at the Vatican in Rome, and concerts in Lucerne, Florence and Venice, and in 1994 performed in cities in central and eastern Europe. The choirs have been featured in two Christmas specials for educational television aired throughout the south and have twice performed by invitation at the American Negro Spiritual Competition in Cincinnati’s famous Music Hall. Other notable performances include appearances with Cincinnati Symphony, Louisville Orchestra and United States Marine Band in Constitution Hall.
Berea, the South’s first interracial and coeducational college, focuses on learning, labor and service. Berea charges no tuition and admits only academically promising students, primarily from Appalachia, who have limited economic resources. All students must work 10 hours weekly, earning money for books, room and board. Graduates from Berea distinguish themselves and the college in many fields, living out the College's motto "God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth."
Berea's primary service area is southern Appalachian, but students come from all states in the U.S. and in a typical year, from more than 60 other countries. The Berea College Concert Choir represents this diversity in all its aspects – ethnic background, race, nationality, background and major.
St. Mildred’s Catholic Church is located at 203 S. Central Avenue is Somerset, KY.
For more information contact the St. Mildred’s Church Office at (606)678-5051.