Friday, December 17, 2010

Celebrate Christmas with Coro Vocati

Coro Vocati is Atlanta's newest a cappella vocal ensemble.  As Coro Vocati explains:

Vocati is Latin for the called, thus a choir of the called.  Coro Vocati seeks to provide a professional-quality choral experience for gifted musicians who understand their 'call' to serve as music educators, church musicians, vocal teachers, singers, and conductors.  Our 'raison d'etre' is to create a workshop, in rehearsal and concert, for the inspiration and continuing education of music educators and professional music colleagues.

Founder and artistic director John Dickson is a lauded choral scholar and conductor with an international CV who has worked in the US, Canada, the UK, Russia, and various European countries.  He became Dean and Professor of Conducting at Mercer University's Townsend School of Music after directing choral studies and chairing conducting at Texas Tech.  The driving force behind Coro Vocati, Dr. Dickson has persuaded 25 busy music professionals in the metro-Atlanta/Macon area to squeeze even more time out of their full and complex lives to make music together under his leadership. For Sunday's concert (Dec 19) at 3 PM, they are joined by organist Michael McGhee -- and Coro Vocati alto Carol Goff will double as piainst in this program, too.

Coro Vocati made its Spivey Hall debut last December in a Christmas concert for high school students, and I'm glad they're back -- I'm keen to hear what they'll sound like with a full year's experience as an ensemble, supported by a more developed  administrative infrastructure. 

Thus still a relatively young organization.  But artistically very promising!  Their Christmas program, "Heaven and Earth in Little Space," is organized topically: 

I. Introit
II. The Mystery
III. The Rose
IV. The Virgin
V. The Kings
VI. The Carols

And there are several works of special interest I'm looking forward to, foremost among them Morten Lauridsen's O magnum mysterium, the original Lo How a Rose E'er Blooming by Praetorius and a setting of this 16th-century melody by Jan Sandstroem, born in 1954 -- plus two pieces by Herbert Howells, whose work for vocal ensemble I really enjoy (my first discoveries were courtesy of the Dale Warland Singers, from my Minnesota days), and Eric Whitacre's Lux arumque, a profoundly beautiful piece.  Lighter works also have their moments in this program, which also features a piece by Moses Hogan that I expect will be in the tradition of the African-American spiritual, Glory, Glory, Glory to the Newborn King -- and this celebration ends with A Musicological Journey Through the Twelve Days of Christmas by Craig Courtney (also born in 1954), which (from the title alone) will likely add a moment of jollity to Sunday's concert...!

Throughout the program, there are opportunities for individual members of Coro Vocati to shine as soloists, and John Dickson will surely "connect the dots" of the varied and diverse works by offering some commentary from the stage along the way.

So come hear some excellent choral music in Spivey Hall on Sunday to lift your spirits -- the Hall's acoustics are especially gratifying (for the performers and the audience alike)  for singing, and this program offers a wealth of Christmas treats.  After this performance, Spivey Hall is silent until the New Year.  HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!


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