The Greenville Chorale has announced its 58th concert season for 2018-2019, which includes a wide variety of genres and styles to appeal to a broad base of musical tastes.
Bingham Vick Jr., the Chorale’s artistic director and conductor, says he selected programming that the Chorale will enjoy performing as much as he hopes the audience will enjoy listening. For him, that means choosing material that is accessible for the entire choir and then narrowing down the hundreds of options for the five concerts throughout the season.
“Picking repertoire for the Chorale is on one level very difficult and on the other hand, is very easy,” Vick says.
“Chorale Sings Bluegrass and Big Band Music”
The fall concert on Oct. 20, 8 p.m., at the Peace Center will feature two diverse selections in collaboration with two instrumental ensembles.
First, the Chorale will perform “Come Away to the Skies – a high, lonesome mass,” a bluegrass mass, accompanied by the Chuck Nation Bluegrass Band from Gainesville, Ga.
The bluegrass mass is based on old, Southern hymn tunes “Do Lord,” “Brethren We Have Met To Worship,” and “What Wondrous Love Is This.” Vick says that these standard tunes in the hymnody are woven into movements in a remarkable way.
The second half of the program will feature three “Sacred Concerts” by Duke Ellington, combining big-band jazz sounds with sacred texts. The Chorale will be joined by the Greenville Jazz Collective Big Band.
“If you like bluegrass, you’re going to love this. If you like big band, you’re going to love it. If you like good choral music, you’re going love it,” Vick says.
“Chorale Sings Messiah”
The Chorale’s 35th annual family Christmas concert on Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m., at McAlister Auditorium will feature a performance of G.F.Handel’s well-known “Messiah.”
The Chorale will be joined by the Chorale Orchestra, area professionals who also perform regularly with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra and the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra. The Chorale most recently performed “Messiah” in 2008.
Members of the Chorale will perform as the soloists.
“The Nature of Things”
The Herring Chamber Ensemble, composed of 24 professional vocalists who are also members of the Chorale, will perform its 22nd annual winter concert on Feb. 17, 2019, 2 p.m., at Charles E. Daniel Chapel, Furman University, and again on Feb. 24, 2019, 4 p.m., at Church of Our Saviour, Johns Island, S.C.
Selections include composers Jake Runestad, Kim André Arnesen, Dan Forrest, Alf Houkom, Eric Whitacre, and Paul Hindemith.
Especially entertaining selections include “Animal Crackers,” a set of poems by Ogden Nash, set to music by Eric Whitacre; “Three riddles,” a Swingle Singers arrangement of Bach; and a version of “William Tell Overture” for voices.
Vick says he tries to choose a wide range of repertoire for the chamber ensemble that includes tight jazz harmonies and pieces that are fun and challenging.
“I ask a lot of the chamber ensemble,” he says.
“The Chorale Sings What Orchestras Play”
The Chorale’s spring concert on April 12, 2019, 8 p.m., at First Baptist Church, will feature the Chorale singing music composed originally for instrumental ensembles. These include well-known works “Largo” from Dvorak’s “New World Symphony,” “Nimrod” from Edward Elgar’s “Enigma Variations,” and “Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber.
Patricia Hunt Fisher, who outbid many others for the chance to guest conduct the Chorale at their annual fundraiser auction, will lead the Chorale for one number. She is a longtime choral singer and was the choral director at Travelers Rest High School for more than 30 years.
The program will also include some “choral humor” by various composers, including Franz Josef Haydn and P.D.Q. Bach, the fictitious “son” of J.S. Bach.
Continuing the Greenville Chorale’s tradition of recognizing one of the area’s premier high school choirs, the program will include a set of selections performed by a choir that will be selected over the summer.
15th Annual Lakeside Patriotic Concert
Rounding out the season, the Chorale joins the Furman Lakeside Band on June 27, 2019, for the annual free concert in the Furman Amphitheater.
The concert, which always opens with “America the Beautiful,” will feature light classics, traditional standards, and Broadway show tunes.
“It’s fun for the crowd to let their hair down and relax,” Vick says.
Tickets for shows are available through the Peace Center Box Office (300 S. Main St.), by phone (864-467-3000), or at the door.