Premiere part of Choral anniversary

By Christina Killion Valdez

The Choral Arts Ensemble's 20th Anniversary Concert will celebrate the past, present and future of the choir.

To mark the occasion, the concert will feature the return of more than 50 alumni singers and three conductors as well as the premiere of a work by Dale Warland, commissioned for the 20th anniversary event.

"Celebratory indeed," said artistic director Michael Culloton of the concert, especially the work by Warland, titled "Pied Beauty."


"I wanted the subject matter and the actual choice of words to be sophisticated, colorful and upbeat," wrote Warland in his notes about the work and text by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

In addition to the spirited text, the music is harmonic and ideal for the acoustics of the chapel and range of the choir, Culloton said. Although the work is dedicated to the ensemble's anniversary, Culloton said he believes "Pied Beauty" could become standard fare for all choirs and ensembles, calling it "a wonderful text with great variety."

Variety is also a hallmark of the concert, which illustrates how far the choir has come in 20 years, including the ability to master "Song of Five Friends" by Jeeyoung Kim, Culloton said.

The piece was written for the Dale Warland Singers, using an Eastern musical language equivalent to playing only the black keys on piano, Culloton said.

A special section of the concert will see the choir more than double in size when it is joined by the alumni singers for four pieces. Each of those pieces will be lead by one of the ensembles four conductors, including founder Rick Kvam, interim conductors Bob Giere and David Moberg, and Culloton.

After the concert, a gala anniversary reception will be held in the dining hall at Assisi Heights.

The Choral Arts Ensemble's 20th Anniversary Concert will be at 7:30 p.m. May 7 in Lourdes Chapel at Assisi Heights, 1001 14 St. N.W. in Rochester. Tickets are $20 for preferred seating, $15 for general and $6 for students. To make reservations, call 252-8427 or visit

Auditions for the 2005-2006 concert season will be held by appointment May 10-20. Interested singers should call the Choral Arts office at 252-8427 for more information and to schedule an audition time.

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