With our major Spring performances coming up at the end of the week, we are pleased to share with you some program notes written by the choir’s founder and director, Ralph B. Woodward. Hopefully this will give you additional insight and appreciation for the pieces you will hear the choir perform. We will have notes on additional program pieces throughout the week.
“Now Is the Month of Maying” (Thomas Morley)
The 16th Century (the time of Shakespeare) was the golden age of the English Madrigal (secular polyphonic song), and “Now Is the Month of Maying” is among the most famous. I was contacted not long ago by an English choir director, who had seen us perform it on YouTube asking about the arrangement we use (which happens to be by Jerry Wesley Harris). So, if she, being from England likes it, I guess we’re on solid footing. The kids really enjoy singing it.
“Song of the Skylark” (Johannes Brahms)
One of the great genres of vocal music is the German Art Song, and I have surveyed virtually all the songs of Schubert, Brahms, Schumann and Mendelssohn in search of material suitable for our choir. Some which we sing were already familiar to me, but some were not, and may not be to our audiences. One of these, “Song of the Skylark,” (Lerchengesang), is particularly beautiful in its wistfulness. The 3 against 4 beat rhythm (choir vs. piano) ads to the song’s poignancy.
Impromptu #2 in E-flat Opus 90 (Franz Schubert)
We are proud to feature brilliant young pianist and choir member, Caleb Spjute performing this extremely virtuosic work. You may want his autograph after you hear him play (others have).
“Blagoslavi dushe moya Ghospoda” (Pavel Chesnokov)
This work (translation: Bless the Lord, my soul), with its rich harmonies and extreme dynamic changes is a fine example of late 19th and early 20th Century Russian liturgical music.
“How Excellent Thy Name” (Howard Hanson)
I first heard this piece sung by a college choir and have liked it ever since. It’s composer, Howard Hanson was the first director of the Eastman School of Music (where he remained for 40 years) and was one of the pre-eminent American composers of the 20th Century. The work, whose text is taken from the Psalms, is very evocative and beautiful and I appreciate the remarkable insight our singers bring to it.
The Choir’s traditional Cathedral Christmas Concerts will be presented at 8:00 PM Friday and Sunday, Dec. 4 and 6 in the Cathedral of the Madeleine (331 E. South Temple).
The program will include music of Palestrina, Bach and Handel, as well as “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” “Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella”,”Il est né le divin Enfant” and other carols, both old and new, from around the world. Also heard will be “Blagosovi dushe moya Ghospoda” by Russian master Pavel Chsnokov, “All My Heart This Night Rejoices” by noted American composer, and “O Bethlehem” by the choir’s director. The evening will conclude with the choir singing the sublime “Sleep of the Child Jesus, Henri Büsser followed by audience and combined choirs joining in several carol favorites.
Harpist Lysa Rytting and organist Ken Udy will provide accompaniment.
The public is invited at no charge, but admission is limited to those over 6 years of age.
A special commemorative concert, “Hope and Remembrance,” will be presented Monday, October 12, 2015 at 7:30 P.M. in Libby Gardner Hall. Featured will be Grammy Award-winning violinists, Igor and Vesna Gruppmann, noted Armenian soprano, Elada Chakoyan, Judd Sheranian of the Utah Symphony, noted pianists, Armine Ghazaryan and Karine Rafael, and the Salt Lake Children’s Choir.
The program will feature music by some of Armenia’s greatest composers, possibly unfamiliar to many in the West, such as Komitas, A.Tigranian and A. Babajanian–and will range from the sacred, 10th Century “Havun-Havun” to Aram Khachaturian’s famous “Sabre Dance.” Also heard will be J. S. Bach’s immortal Concerto for Two Violins in D Major, Mozart’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in E Minor, Woodward’s “Alleluia” (sung by the Salt Lake Children’s Choir) and “Echoes of Armenia” by Karine Rafael.
This is a rare opportunity to hear both familiar masterworks performed by world renowned artists and beautiful, but rarely-heard, treasures from one of the great cultures of the world.
All seats are $10 and tickets will be available at the door.
The Salt Lake Children’s Choir is entering its 36th season next month. The immediate future is just as exciting as many of those 35 years. Looking Ahead–
If you have a child who likes to sing, or know a child who might be interested, please don’t hesitate to set up an audition and to share this information. We look forward to hearing from you!
Our 2014 Cathedral Concerts are barely more than a week away.
Did you know the Salt Lake Children’s Choir sang in the Cathedral of the Madeleine for the first time 30 years ago in 1984? Here’s how Ralph B. Woodward, founder and director, remembers that concert:
It has occurred to me that this December marks the 30th Anniversary of our choir’s first performance in the Cathedral of the Madeleine. We were still rather new then, and, of course, in awe of the Cathedral. However, I thought the Cathedral would be the ideal setting for a wonderful work my father had performed at Brigham Young University back in 1955 ( just a couple of years following the work’s actual creation). The piece, “Une Cantate de Noel” (or Christmas Story) by Swiss Composer, Arthur Honegger calls for full orchestra, mixed choir, baritone soloist, children’s choir, and organ. I loved the piece – particularly the thrilling way the children’s voices were employed. Now that I directed a children’s choir and since my father (now retired from BYU) still had the Ralph Woodward Chorale (a fine community ensemble), I decided to approach Dr. David Dalton, then conductor of the Salt Lake Symphony about a joint performance. He responded favorably and the orchestra later did, as well. The next task was to approach then Cathedral Rector, M. Francis Mannion, about the idea–which he fully embraced. At the time, he was interested in opening up the cathedral to more community cultural events, and this suggestion came at the perfect time.
So, on Sunday, Dec. 2, 1984, the program was presented as follows:
The Salt Lake Symphony, directed by Dr. Dalton opened the evening with the sublime “Adagio in G Minor” for strings and organ by Tomaso Albinoni. We, The Salt Lake Children’s Choir, then gave unaccompanied performances of the several carols which would later appear during the course of the Honegger work. This was then followed by a very stirring performance of Arthur Honegger’s “Une Cantate de Noel,” conducted by my father, Dr. Ralph Woodward. It was a glorious event for all present, and a wonderful beginning to our long association with the Cathedral of the Madeleine.
Please join us this year to enjoy this beautiful Salt Lake tradition. December 5 & 7th, 8:00 P.M. at the Cathedral of the Madeleine.
This year the Salt Lake Children’s Choir is excited to be appearing as special guests of the Choral Arts Society of Utah in their annual Holiday Pops Concert. Proceeds from the concert benefit the Salvation Army Angel Tree program. Please share this post with people you know who would want to support this cause and enjoy this concert.
Many of you have asked already about the dates for the Cathedral Christmas Concerts this year. Though it is hard to believe, the holiday season is nearly upon us.
The choir will present its traditional Cathedral Christmas Concert Friday and Sunday, Dec. 5 and 7 at 8 PM in the Cathedral of the Madeleine (331 East South Temple). Featured will be music of Bach, Handel, and other early masters, as well as familiar and lesser-known carols from many lands–including “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” “What Child Is This?,” “Pat-A-Pan,” “Cantemos,” (a traditional Venezuelan villancico), and the sublime “Sleep of the Child Jesus” by Henri Büsser. Audience and choir will join in several carol favorites to conclude the evening. Accompaniment will be provided by harpist Lysa Rytting and organist Ken Udy.
There is no charge but admission is limited to those over 6 years of age. Due to the resonant nature of the cathedral and the relatively late hour of the concert, please leave small children at home.
On another note – please BRING the small children, and everyone else, to our Family Christmas Concert on December 21st. Traditionally held at the LDS Chapel at 951 East 100 South, Salt Lake City, this concert is slightly shorter, slightly earlier, and has much more parking than our Cathedral Concerts. Anyone with mobility issues will also find it easier to navigate than the Cathedral. It will be our last concert of the season.
One exciting addition to our holiday schedule this year is the chance to appear as guest artists on another holiday program. On Saturday, Dec. 6 (Yes, this IS the night between our Cathedral Concerts), at 7:30 PM, the choir will join with the Choral Arts Society of Utah, Sterling Poulson, Music Director, and the West Valley Symphony for the popular KUTV Holiday Pops Benefit Concert at Cottonwood High School. The program will include music by Holst and Handel–plus traditional carols–as well as “Sleigh Ride,” “The Night Before Christmas,” “Frosty, the Snowman,” and a combined sing-along. Tickets are available at Smith’s-Tix.
The Salt Lake Children’s Choir, Ralph B. Woodward, Artistic Director, will present its traditional Christmas Concerts Friday, Dec. 6 and Sunday, Dec. 8 at 8:00 PM in the Cathedral of the Madeleine (331 E South Temple). Featured will be works by di Lasso, Handel, and other early masters, as well as familiar and lesser-known carols from many lands–including “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly,” Ill est ne, le divin Enfant, and the Peruvian villancico, “Venir, pastorcitos.” Also heard will be the title theme from the motion picture, “King of Kings” by Miklos Rozsa. The evening will conclude with audience and choir joining in several carol favorites. Accompaniment will be by harpist Lisa Rytting and organist Ken Udy. There is no charge, but admission is limited to those over 6 years of age.
The choir’s first public Christmas appearance will be at the Tabernacle on Temple Square on November 30th. The concert is titled “A Celebration of Christ” and features the choir, Vocal Point (from BYU) and Jenny Oaks Baker as well as performers from many Christian denominations in the Salt Lake Valley. Tickets can be purchased from LDS events for $10 general admission. There are two shows that day: a matinee at 4:30 p.m. and an evening performance at 8:00 p.m.