Our 40th Season will conclude with our gift to you of A Ruby Necklace, stringing together jewels from our past concerts—chief among them J. S. Bach’s motet BWV 227 Jesu, meine Freude, Brahms’ motet Schaffe in mir, Gott, and the Bogoroditse Devo from Rachmaninoff’s All Night Vigil—and looking to the future with new gems we’re adding to our repertoire. We chose rubies as the inspiration for this concert because they are the traditional gift stone for a 40th anniversary, and also are thought to possess an eternal inner flame, a symbol that the passion of making beautiful music together is still very much alive and strong after our first 40 years!
We’ve been rehearsing for the last several weeks without relying on our much-loved accompanist. This will, after all, be a concert of unaccompanied works, and we need to be ready and comfortable charting our own course without the help of the piano. Artistic Director Sanford Dole has again put together a thoroughly enjoyable set of pieces for us to sing, and for you to hear. A collection of choral music that spans centuries, it presents the choir with the pleasure—and challenge!—of singing in a variety of different styles. To give you just a brief example: from a 16th century motet by Giovanni Gabrieli sung in Latin, we move on to 18th century Bach with his motet Jesu, meine Freude in German, visit the 19th century with Brahms’ Schaffe in mir, Gott, make a brief stopover in early 20th-century Russia for Rachmaninoff’s Bogoroditse Devo from his All-Night Vigil (in Church Slavonic), and end in the 21st century with Sanford’s own Invitation to a Voyage and works by several other contemporary composers, including jazz and gospel compositions.
Phew! What a fantastic whirlwind. For choir singers and the conductor alike, that means we do a mental “exhale” during the short break between each of the individual pieces—letting go of the character of the previous piece that we just presented with so much musical empathy, and looking ahead to what different style, voice, color will be required from us to make the next piece shine and sparkle in just the right way.
The joy of making music together is just as fresh today as it was when the choir was founded 40 years ago, and the choices have become even more varied and delightful. Come share the joy with us in at least one of the performances. Choose the venue nearest you, or one you’ve never been to, or the date and time that fits your schedule. But don’t miss it! This is going to be a wonderful concert. And sometime, when you are able, don’t just come to our concerts once. Attend more than one performance of the same concert. You’ll hear differences in each location due to different acoustical and visual environments. You’ll hear and see why we love singing and sharing our music with you!
— Petra Hofer, BCG board member and chorister