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Release Date: 
Monday, March 14, 2011

Choirs combine to celebrate the joy of singing

Three accomplished choirs will join forces Monday, March 28, to celebrate the joy of singing in the fourth annual Vanguard Choral Celebration, hosted by Dearborn’s Vanguard Voices, in the Michael A. Guido Theater at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center. The 90-minute performance will begin at 8 p.m.

'This is a wonderful opportunity for people who love good singing to hear exciting vocal music, performed at the highest level, in a friendly and collegial atmosphere,' said G. Kevin Dewey, artistic director of Vanguard Voices and founder of the Choral Celebration. Dewey is a faculty member in the Music Dept. at Henry Ford Community College (HFCC).

The participating choirs include the Central Michigan University Chamber Singers, directed by Dr. Nina Nash-Robertson; Sounding Light, directed by Lindsay Kesselman; and Vanguard Voices.

'The Vanguard Choral Celebration is a way for choirs to perform for each other, to share their musical experience with each other and with the audience, and to join at the finale into one massed choir to perform a show-stopping piece,' Dewey said. This year’s final selection is William Byrd’s six-part masterpiece, 'Sing Joyfully,' which is well known in the choral world. 

'This is a piece that is dazzling to watch and to hear. One voice part will begin a segment of the text, with the other parts joining in imitative polyphony. It’s a blast to watch the voice sections come in one after the other and share each segment of text,' Dewey added.

The evening will begin with Vanguard Voices performing a set of four pieces, led by Ralph Vaughan Williams’ anthem, 'O Clap Your Hands.' It will be followed by a beautiful hymn composed for Vanguard Voices by Californian Larry Christiansen, 'Lord, Feed Mine Eyes.' Trond Kverno’s 'Ave Maris Stella,' a hymn to Mary, Star of the Sea, will be followed by the double-chorus fugue, 'Sanctus,' from Giuseppe Verdi’s famous Requiem Mass.

The CMU Chamber Singers will begin its set with three texts from African-American poet Langston Hughes set to music by William Averitt. They include 'Song for Billie Holiday,' 'At the Feet o’ Jesus' and 'Fire.' An exciting a cappella work by Haitian-born composer Sydney Guillaume, 'Twa Tanbou,' sung in Creole, will be followed by Morten Lauridsen’s lush 'Sure on This Shining Night.'

Sounding Light, a Birmingham-based ensemble that is the chamber choir of the acclaimed Many Voices...One Song arts organization launched in 2003 by Artistic Director Tom Trenney, will open its set with a rousing Afro-inspired march, 'KOM!' written by Swedish composer Monica Aslund. The group’s second selection will be 'The Seal Lullaby' by Eric Whitacre, a popular American composer who is becoming widely known outside conventional musical circles for his innovative use of choirs and media technology.

Sounding Light’s next offering will be 'Si Devono Aprire le Stelle,' based on an Italian text with music composed by Carmen Cavallaro, a tenor who sings with the group. 'Again, this is a rare opportunity to see an original work composed by one of the choristers,' said Dewey.  Switching to church Slavonic, Sounding Light will continue with 'Bogoroditse Devo,' by Sergei Rachmaninoff, from his 'All Night Vigil, Op. 37.' Shifting its focus to American music, the group will conclude with Moses Hogan’s setting of the spiritual, 'My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord' and the Shaker hymn 'Not One Sparrow is Forgotten.'

Reserved tickets for the event are $5 and are available at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center box office, 15801 Michigan Ave. at Greenfield Road, Dearborn, or by calling 313. 943.2354.