Genesee Chorale Concert: Heaven on Earth | Arts & Culture
Friday May 13, 2011
MEDINA, NY - Anyone who opted not to attend Friday evening’s performance of The Genesee Chorale and Orchestra missed a little bit of heaven on earth. The glorious sanctuary of St. Mary’s Church resonated with music both exquisite and heavenly. This spectacle of a performance will not soon be forgotten.
The landmark concert was the first of two concerts celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Chorale’s founding.
The first portion of the concert saw past conductors leading the Chorale in treasured pieces from their repertoire. Among the conductors was the group’s founding director, Dr. Theodore Ashizawa, conducting captivating performances of Mozart’s Hostias and Lacrymosa from Requiem.
Ashizawa spoke of his great love for and pride in the group which he founded in 1971; love that was plainly evident in the music he was able to evoke from the Chorale. He remains a performer with the group today.
Other past directors providing equally moving performances included Directors Dawn Mark, Ron Bordinaro, Marcia Housel, Mark Hoerbelt, and Charles Bradley. Bordinaro conducted the world premiere of his poignant work Lux Aeterna.
The second half of the evenings’ program was conducted by Ric Jones. Jones, a Medina native, has been the director since January 2008.
Beginning with an incredibly moving and powerful rendition of The Battle Hymn of the Republic featuring both Chorale and orchestra, Jones lead the audience through a mesmerizing program including Festival Sanctus by John Leavitt, Its Not Always May by Elaine Hagenberg, Prayer with words by Mother Theresa of Calcutta, music by Rene Clausen, and The World of Our Dreams by Jeffrey Ames.
However, it was the last two selections that were indeed the icing on the cake. Jones explained how Chorale President Maureen DeGolyer had implored him to consider doing John Williams’ Exultate Justi (from Empire of the Sun).
Jones tried in vain to locate an arrangement and score to no avail. Rather than give up on what he thought was a tremendous idea, he decide to arrange the piece himself. The result was sensational.
The piece, featuring the Chorale Orchestra and Children’s Choir, was one of the great highlights of the evening. Jones masterfully captured Williams’ work in style and sound, resulting in a superbly stunning performance.
As if that was not enough, the concert finished, bringing the crowd to their feet with a powerful performance of the Choral from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. The standing ovation brought an extra encore treat of the hauntingly beautiful and melancholy Shenandoah.
The entire evening was a splendid triumph for both Chorale and audience. An evening of heavenly music in a gloriously celestial venue like St. Mary’s is simply not to be missed- ever! Bravo to Jones, his predessors, the Chorale and Orchestra for a magnificent performance!
The concert was presented by the Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc. of Medina (www.eggstreet.org).