The choirs of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania will present a free concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 20, in Union Church of Hinsdale. Religious and secular music for mixed choir, women’s choir and men’s choir will be presented, highlighted by the Chicago premiere of a new work from Vancouver composer Stephen Hatfield.
He's known both for arrangements of world music and original works that weave influences from diverse cultures. His music is primarily published by Alliance Music and Boosey & Hawkes’ Choral Music Experience, developed by noted choral pedagogue Doreen Rao to promote culturally diverse ensemble singing in school, church and community. [Note to readers: Rao formerly directed the Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus, now called Anima.]
Hatfield’s new work, "As She Goes," has been commissioned by the Bloomsburg Choirs in memory of Professor of Music Eileen Murphy Hower. The text, also by Hatfield, employs the metaphor of nature’s cyclic turn from darkness to light to offer a message of comfort, hope and encouragement in the face of challenge or loss, while quoting a familiar Celtic folk song, "Wild Mountain Thyme."
Wellness House benefit
To further honor the late Professor Hower, who died in December after a public battle with breast cancer, the choirs will accept donations at the door following the performance, with all proceeds directed to benefit Wellness House in Hinsdale. The nonprofit offers programs geared to those diagnosed with cancer, as well as their family and friends. Offered at no cost, and as a complement to medical treatment, Wellness House programs educate, support and empower participants so they will improve their physical and emotional well-being. Support groups, educational programs, cooking and exercise classes, programs for children and a fully equipped library are all housed in a warm, home-like facility.
The Concert Choir and Men’s Chorus will be under the direction of Alan Baker. Concert Choir selections will include Z. Randall Stroope’s "Lamentations of Jeremiah" and "Inscription of Hope," Randall Thompson’s "Choose Something Like a Star," Robert Schumann’s "Zigeunerleben" and a variety of world-, gospel and jazz selections.
Men’s Chorus selections will include Morten Lauridsen’s "Dirait-on," Rollo Dilworth’s "Jonah" and a variety of spirituals, sea chanteys and other novelties from the American male glee club tradition.
The Women’s Chorus will be guided by Andrew Robinette. The singers will present the above-mentioned Stephen Hatfield premiere, as well as religious music of the Renaissance, and selections from folk song and spiritual traditions. Accompanists are Harry Martenas and Valynn Boy.
Union Church of Hinsdale is at 137 S. Garfield Ave. For directions, visit www.uchinsdale.org.