Originally Published: September 28, 2017 9:03 p.m.
Updated as of Monday, October 2, 2017 6:51 AM
After returning from a recent trip to perform in Detroit, Prescott Chorale is getting ready to start its next season, beginning with an experimental first concert.
Starting the season on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 3 p.m. with a concert titled “Give Voice to the Soul,” conductor Dennis Houser said he looked for a theme that was challenging for the singers and interesting to the audience.
“I have always been interested in the human soul and how the voice relates … I have always wondered how does the soul manifest itself and what voice does it have,” Houser said. “The music, in our case, actually allows our souls to speak in a verbal way. That’s why I programmed this way and that’s why I chose the music that I did choose.”
The first concert is an experiment in the human voice, he said, noting that one of the pieces he chose requires singers to sing as if they were 14 or 15 years old. That’s the way the music is written, Houser said, calling it kind of ethereal music. Called “Even When He is Silent,” it was composed based on poetry written by a soldier and found in a cell in a concentration camp after World War II.
The concert features a varied program, including music that was written hundreds of years ago to music written fairly recently.
Following the October concert are two on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 3 and 7:30 p.m. featuring a line-up of traditional holiday songs with surprises for the audience and children of all ages.
Next year, the season continues on Saturday, April 21, at 3 p.m. where a concert titled “Inspiring Music: Heroes and History” combines two works not even closely similar but both impactful because of the composers, Houser said.
“The second piece on the program was written by a contemporary composer in response to 9/11,” he said, mentioning it’s only about 20 minutes long, but is “stunningly beautiful. It talks about the devastation of 9/11, which now has been 16 years ago.”
The other piece is Josef Gabriel Rheinberger’s “Mass in C Major.”
The season closes out on Saturday, June 9, at 3 p.m. with “Return to Dresden” and the Chorale reprising Johan Adolf Hasse’s “Missa in d minor,” which it performed in October 2016. The performance will be special as the Chorale will be preparing to perform in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, according to a news release from Tom Agostino.
There are two purposes as to why the Prescott Chorale sings, Houser said, commenting the first is to explore how the soul expresses itself in music and the second is how the human voice is “so wonderfully perfect.”
“Not that we sing perfectly,” he said. “But that the voice itself is perfect.”
All concerts will be at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 2000 Shepherds Lane, with pre-concert talks 30 minutes before the performances. Tickets are $21 for general admission and $6 for youth 13 to 18.
For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.prescottchorale.org.