Hannah King · February 24, 2012
The Southern Virginia University Concert Chorale and Liberty University Concert Choir, along with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and others, will perform a concert entitled, “American Voices in War & Peace,” Monday, March 5, at 8 p.m. in the Roanoke Performing Arts Theatre.
The concert’s conductor, Dr. David Wiley, currently serves as director of both the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and New York’s Long Island Philharmonic. He has received numerous awards, and has conducted in nearly every state in the U.S. and dozens of countries in Europe, Asia and Africa.
“I was absolutely thrilled to be invited and I feel very privileged that we will have this opportunity to perform with this well-known regional symphony and a conductor of David Wiley’s reputation and experience,” said Dr. La Rae Carter, director of Southern Virginia’s Concert Chorale. “I think it’s going to be a phenomenal spiritual and musical experience for our students.”
In addition to the two universities’ choral groups and the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, the Roanoke College Children’s Choir and the Roanoke Symphony Chorus will perform. Music will include Leonard Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms” as well as a selection from his musical “Candide,” and a variety of patriotic songs.
Dr. John Hugo, professor of music at Liberty University and director of both the Liberty University Concert Choir and the Roanoke Symphony Chorus, contacted Carter last October to see whether the Concert Chorale would be able to participate in the concert.
“Dr. Hugo said that he had found an unofficial recording of one of our choir performances on YouTube and he said that he thought our choir would mesh very well with these other groups,” said Carter. “He has had a long association with conductor David Wiley and has taken choirs to participate in several of hiscombined performances. “
Carter said that since then, she and Dr. Hugo have been in frequent contact, and Hugo came to visit Southern Virginia to rehearse with the Concert Chorale this week. This is the first time that the two universities’ performing groups have collaborated.
When Hugo rehearsed with the students in the Concert Chorale, he said that he thought the music would be very moving for the audience and most likely bring them to tears. Carter agreed with this statement, saying that the musical selections for the concert are “deeply emotional and sacred.”
The text of the three movements of the “Chichester Psalms,” composed by Leonard Bernstein in 1965, is taken from the original Hebrew of Psalms 2, 100, 108 and 131. The text includes both the themes of making a joyful noise unto the Lord and the nation’s rage, detailing times of peace as well as times of war and conflict.
The other musical selections for the concert also center on themes of war and peace. One of the selections, “Virginia’s My Home,” has been written as a possible entry in the Virginia State Song Competition. Other pieces include an Armed Forces Medley, “The Battle Hymn of The Republic,” “Stars and Stripes Forever,” and a Bernstein piece from “Candide” entitled, “Make Our Garden Grow.”
Carter said that she thinks this concert will help to highlight Southern Virginia University to the public and make others more aware of the university’s strengths.
“People will become aware that we’re here and that we’re doing something creditable in music and see that a university of our size can produce a choir of 80 voices that is comparable to other choirs around us where the universities are much larger,” said Carter.
Tickets for the concert are $8 for students and depending on the seating area, $22 to $50 for the general public. Tickets can be purchased at rso.com. For more information, call the RSO box office at 540-343-9127.