Easton Choral Arts to Celebrate Christmas Season with “Ceremony of Carols”

Easton Choral Arts Society continues its celebratory 40th season with Benjamin Britten’s immensely popular Ceremony of Carols, along with favorite songs of the season. The chorus under Artistic Director Wes Lockfaw, will be accompanied by harpist Rebecca Smith of the National Philharmonic Orchestra. Two performances will be held at Christ Church in downtown Easton, Friday, December 1, and Sunday, December 3.

Considered by many as the most important English composer since Henry Purcell, Britten composed the work in 1942 on his return voyage from the United States. Ceremony of Carols is one of Britten’s best-known and most-performed works. It has been described as a brilliantly conceived and dramatic concert work… enchanting Christmas music, with many wondrous and memorable effects.

It is based on the Ceremony of Nine Lessons and Carols, songs and dances of religious joy, a traditional part of an Anglican Christmas, consisting of hymns and other songs interspersed with Biblical readings.  Britten uses the nine carols without the lessons, to express the various moods surrounding the celebration of this most joyous season. Many of the carol texts reveal the mystery of the Christmas events.

Some of the carols are in Latin; some are in Middle English based on poems from the 15th and 16th centuries. They retain their unique flavor by Britten’s extensive use of old English language in the style of Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales”. The cantata is made up of 11 movements: 10 with voice and one for solo harp. The work opens and ends with the choir processing to plainsong, and the sections in-between deal with the traditional stories surrounding the birth of Christ.

Harpist Rebecca Smith will provide the sole accompaniment for the Britten piece. Rebecca has enjoyed a distinguished career as a professional harpist and teacher for over 30 years. Her orchestral credits include The Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra (1980-1990), The National Gallery of Art Orchestra, The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, The Filene Center Orchestra at Wolf Trap, The Chesapeake Orchestra and The National Philharmonic Orchestra. Additionally, she has served as a guest musician for The National and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras.

Join Easton Choral Arts for the second concert of its 40th Anniversary Season. To order tickets for Friday December 1 at 7:30 pm or Sunday December 3 at 4:00 pm, visit www.eastonchoralarts.org or call 410-200-0498. Advance sale tickets are $25 and are $30 at the door. Students will be admitted free with reservations.

The Easton Choral Arts Society is supported by grants from the Talbot County Arts Council, the Maryland State Arts Council and the Mid-Shore Community Foundation.

Easton Choral Arts Celebrates Its 40th Season

The Easton Choral Arts Society, under the direction of Maestro Wes Lockfaw, will open its 40th concert season with Made in the USA, on Friday, October 13, 7:30 PM and Sunday, October 15, 4:00 PM at Christ Church, Easton. The fall concert is a revue of grand and glorious American choral music dating from the 18th century to the present. Maestro Lockfaw has chosen to inaugurate the new season with a thrilling selection of best loved songs that will please audiences both young and mature.

Beginning with Now Shall My Inward Joys Arise by William Billings, the all American concert will also feature spirituals and Stephen Foster songs, and continue with memorable Broadway tunes from George and Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter. Highlighting the festive concert will be a parade of spectacular pieces from the musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein. The 1940’s will be represented by the music of Randall Thompson and Johnny Mercer and, for the final series, the chorus will sing modern compositions from Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein whose 100th birthday will take place later in the season.

This year’s Christmas concert will follow the fall concert on the first weekend in December with Benjamin Britten’s hugely popular Ceremony of Carols along with seasonal favorites. This concert will also be sung at Christ Church Easton.

As the archives tell the story, there has been great joy and challenge in presenting beautiful music through the years. Easton Choral Arts has sung a wide variety of glorious music, represented by selections from many different eras, styles and composers. Yes, the society has brought musical joy and beauty to our community since 1977, and it continues this tradition into a new season with three remarkable programs.

Tickets for each concert are $25 and are available at www.eastonchoralarts.org or our Ticket Hotline 410-200-0498.  Students will be admitted free, (reservation required). Tickets will be $30 at the door. Seating is limited so advance ticket purchases are recommended. Season tickets are available at www.eastonchoralarts.org.

ECAS was founded in 1977 by organist Florence Ruley of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, a group of caring singers was organized to commemorate the installation of a new bishop. The experience was so rewarding that they continued with the idea of singing two to three concerts a year. As public appreciation and awareness of the Easton Choral Arts Society was growing within the community, its presence was marked by a new and thoughtful broadening of the repertoire, featuring guest soloists, and professional instrumentalists.

In 2010, Wes Lockfaw became Easton Choral Arts Society’s fifth Artistic Director. A very talented and accomplished organist, pianist, and choral director, Wes Lockfaw has led music ministries in seven states as well as having served as a choral adjudicator, clinician, and piano instructor in a college environment. In January of 2009, he accepted the position of Organist and Music Director at Christ Church Episcopal in Easton, Maryland where he directs ensembles ranging from children to adults.

Thanks to community support, Easton Choral Arts is keeping the spirit of its mission alive — to bring great choral masterworks programs to audiences of all ages on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Easton Choral Arts Society, Inc. is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization funded in part by the Maryland State Arts Council, the Talbot County Arts Council and the Mid-Shore Community Foundation.

Easton Choral Arts Society Plans Auditions for 40th Season

The Easton Choral Arts Society, founded in 1977, has announced auditions for its 40th concert season. Composed of members from all over the Delmarva region, the Society performs a variety of music, ranging from classical to works by living composers. Auditions are scheduled by appointment, and interested singers may contact ECAS through the website EastonChoralArts.org or by e-mail at eastonchoralarts@gmail.com. Rehearsals will be held Tuesday evenings 7:00 to 9:00, at Christ Church in Easton beginning Aug. 22.

Look for a surprising and thrilling concert season as Easton Choral Arts Society, presents a wide span of choral works from a rich array of music ranging from Medieval through twenty-first century composers. Information on specific selections can be found on the ECAS website.

Guiding the chorus to the threshold of its fifth decade of performance and choral excellence, Maestro Wes Lockfaw will direct the chorus along with guest artists throughout the season.

The Easton Choral Arts Society is supported by grants from the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, Choptank Electric Cooperative, the Talbot County Arts Council, and the Maryland State Arts Council.

The Best Party in Town is Coming Soon!

Karin & Jeffrey

The High Note committee planning the festivities: Karin Kuntz and Jeffrey Parker.

The Easton Choral Arts Society announces A High Note Eventtheir annual cocktail party and silent auction, on Saturday February 25th, from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm at the Talbot Country Club. Chase the cold weather blues away while savoring delicious appetizers desserts, and our exclusive cocktail, The High Note, while you mingle to the lively music of the Julie Mack Quartet. Browse through and choose from the outstanding collection of silent auction treasures, plus a few surprises. Each admission ticket includes two complimentary cocktails.

Together, with our friends and patrons, we’ll celebrate a midwinter’s evening while supporting the Eastern Shore’s vibrant performing arts community. Tickets are $75 per person, or $80 at the door, and can be purchased on our website at eastonchoralarts.org, calling (410) 200-0498, or from chorus members.

Proceeds from the evening will benefit the ECAS programming and Scholars program.

The Easton Choral Arts Society is supported in part by grants from the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, the Talbot County Arts Council, and the Maryland State Arts Council.

Easton Choral Arts Announces Christmas Concert

For the Christmas season, the Easton Choral Arts Society announces its annual holiday concert. This year, Maestro Wes Lockfaw has chosen John Rutter’s Magnificat, a composition in seven movements with a mezzo-soprano solo, mixed choir, and chamber orchestra. A household name for his carols and other short sacred and secular pieces, John Rutter has also written a number of larger scale works for choir and orchestra. The performances will take place at Christ Church in Easton on Friday, December 2 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, December 4 at 4:00 pm.

katherine_sanford_headshot_2-media72

Katherine Sanford

The Magnificat is taken from the Gospel of Luke and captures the words of the Virgin Mary on the occasion of her visit to her cousin Elizabeth. One of the most ancient of all Christian hymns, it is perhaps the oldest of Marian hymns. John Rutter said of his own work that his intention was to compose a setting of the Magnificat reminiscent of Mediterranean sunshine and celebration, evoking the spirit of the many exuberant festivals held throughout Europe in honor of the Virgin Mary. To this end, the work is full of energetic, syncopated rhythms and strong melodies, with more than a hint of the musical theatre.

Joining the 60 member chorus will be Katherine Sanford and chamber orchestra. Ms. Sanford is a versatile young mezzo-soprano hailing from Annapolis, Maryland. She is equally at home in opera, concert, and recital repertoire. She has sung with Des Moines Metro Opera and recently took residency with Opera Colorado, performing in well known opera productions as well as contemporary opera works.

Following Magnificat, the Choral Society will sing a variety of seasonal favorites including the exquisite Ave Maria considered to be Franz Biebl’s best-known work. The piece gained worldwide fame through its recording by the world-famous Chanticleer.

Tickets are $25 general admission. Students are admitted free (reservations required). Tickets will be $30 at the door. Purchase tickets at EastonChoralArts.org. Seating is limited in the church, so advance tickets purchases are encouraged. For more information 410-200-0498.

Easton Choral Arts Society, Inc. is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization funded in part by the Maryland State Arts Council and the Talbot County Arts Council.

 

Easton Choral Arts Opens 39th Season

The Easton Choral Arts Society, under the direction of Maestro Wes Lockfaw, opens its 39th concert season with Simply A Capella, on Friday, November 4, 7:30 PM and Sunday, November 6, 4:00 PM at Christ Church, Easton. Maestro Lockfaw has chosen for this performance three a capella choral works which includes Randall Thompson’s The Peaceable Kingdom, Ralph Vaughn Williams Mass in G minor and Thomas Tallis’ Lamentations of Jeremiah, the latter being sung by the chamber choir. Joining the chorus will be soprano Laura Choi Stuart and tenor Joseph Regan. Returning to sing with ECAS will be mezzo-soprano Kristen Dubenion-Smith and Baritone Antony Zwerdling.

laura-and-joseph

Laura Choi Stuart and Joseph Regan

The program begins with Randall Thompson’s a capella masterpiece, The Peaceable Kingdom, a sequence of sacred choruses on texts from the prophecy of Isaiah. The work has been considered a masterpiece of unaccompanied choral writing for its colorful and expressive word painting, mastery of compositional technique, and broad emotional scope.

Included in the program will be Ralph Vaughn Williams’ Mass in G minor. The Latin and English texts are taken from the Roman liturgy, the Bible and John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. The style, reminiscent of Gregorian chant but devout and indefinably English, varies greatly in mood, intensity and expression. It remains today a unique, beautiful and lyrical masterpiece whose bold harmonies and unadorned chant-like melodies evoke the atmosphere of ancient worship.

kristen-and-antony

Kristen Dubenion-Smith and Antony Zwerdling

Concluding the concert will be Lamentations of Jeremiah, A fascinating Renaissance work, by Thomas Tallis, one of the greatest composers of the 16th century. The Lamentations are of the utmost spiritual refinement and one of the most stunning examples of polyphonic music ever composed. It is a music of dreams, of visions and the sounds are rich and lofty as a medieval cathedral.

Tickets are $25 and are available at www.EastonChoralArts.org. Students will be admitted free, (reservation required). Tickets will be $30 at the door..

Easton Choral Arts Society, Inc. is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization funded in part by the Maryland State Arts Council and the Talbot County Arts Council.

Popular Jazz Stylist to Perform at Easton Choral Arts Benefit Concert

Sachal PhotoThe sounds of distinctive jazz music are coming to the Avalon Theatre in Easton featuring Sachal and his Jazz Quartet on Sunday October 9 at 7:30pm. performing a benefit concert for the Easton Choral Arts Society.

Sachal, a jazz singer, composer and lyricist, is recognized for his singular voice, with a tone and unique phrasing that mark him as one of the most compelling voices on the scene today. He has performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and has appeared in music festivals around the world. When not leading his own groups, he has performed alongside greats like Wynton Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, Michael Feinstein and many more.

Tickets are available for the Avalon Theatre Mezzanine and Balcony and priced $75 and $40 respectively. All proceeds go to the Easton Choral Arts Society’s musical programming and Scholar’s Fund. Purchase tickets at EastonChoralArts.org. This promises to be a cool evening of jazz. More information at eastonchoralarts@gmail.com.

Easton Choral Arts Society is funded in part by the Talbot County Arts Council, the Maryland State Arts Council, the Mid-Shore Community Foundation and individual contributions.

Easton Choral Arts Society Announces Auditions for 39th Season

ECAS group media 102614The Easton Choral Arts Society, founded in 1977, is now accepting auditions for its 39th concert season. Comprised of members throughout the Delmarva region, the choral society performs a variety of music ranging from classical to works by living composers. Auditions are scheduled by appointment, and interested singers may contact ECAS through the website EastonChoralArts.org or eastonchoralarts@gmail.com. Rehearsals are held Tuesday evenings at Christ Church in Easton beginning August 23.

Look for a surprising and thrilling concert season as Easton Choral Arts Society, will present a wide span of choral works from a rich array of music ranging from Medieval through twenty-first century composers. Guiding the chorus to the threshold of its fifth decade of performance and choral excellence, Maestro Wes Lockfaw will direct the chorus along with guest artists throughout the season.

Inaugurating the new season, Easton Choral Arts will present Simply A Capella at Christ Church Easton on Friday, November 4 and Sunday, November 6, 2016. Included in the concert will be Randall Thompson’s The Peaceable Kingdom, Ralph Vaughn Williams’ Mass in G minor and Thomas Tallis’ Lamentation of Jeremiah.For the Christmas season, the chorus will perform John Rutter’s Magnificat along with seasonal favorites, including Biebl’s absolutely exquisite Ave Maria. These performances will also be held at Christ Church Easton on Friday, December 2 and Sunday, December 4.

Highlighting the spring concert is a selection of songs based on poetry featuring the Liebeslieder Waltzes by Johannes Brahms and Frostiana by Randall Thompson. Also to be included is Rene Clausen’s arrangement of Black is the Color of my True Love’s Hair and Fern Hill by John Corigliano. The performances will be held at St Mark’s Church, Easton on Friday, April 28 and Sunday, April 30, 2017.

Easton Choral Arts is under the direction of Wes Lockfaw who is also music director at Christ Church in Easton. Mr. Lockfaw, whose choirs were featured in 2014 at Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg, Virginia, is also director of the Christ Church Concert Series and the Dean of the Mid-Shore Maryland Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

The Easton Choral Arts Society is supported by grants from the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, Choptank Electric Cooperative, the Talbot County Arts Council, and the Maryland State Arts Council.

Easton Choral Arts Society to Perform a Jazz Mass

Lena Seikaly headshot (for online promo)Easton Choral Arts Society, under the direction of Wes Lockfaw, concludes its 38th season this April with the groundbreaking Mass in Blue by Will Todd, an upbeat jazz setting of the Latin Mass for choir and soloist. This performance features jazz singer Lena Seikaly, whom critics have named “one of Washington’s preeminent jazz singers” and “brightest voices in jazz” (The Washington Post), as well as a “major league young talent in jazz” by Duke Ellington’s biographer, Dr. John Hasse.

Lena is already making her mark as both a revivalist of traditional jazz singing as well as an innovator in contemporary vocal jazz styles. She blends hot jazz and cool blues styles for a dynamic and uplifting choral encounter.

When listening to Mass in Blue, it becomes immediately apparent that Will Todd has an intense passion for jazz, choral music and the Latin text. His masterful setting gracefully dances through many jazz styles in a way that is always appropriate, perfect, and satisfying. Expression is the main priority and listeners will be pleasantly surprised by how structured the work is, considering its jazzy style. Mass in Blue is a legitimate entry into the choral repertoire, and fans of high-quality choral singing will not want to miss the opportunity to experience this unique composition.

Following Mass in Blue, the program will move into a tribute to Moses Hogan. Hogan was one of the most celebrated contemporary directors and arrangers of spirituals, until his untimely death in 2003, at the age of 45. In his short life, he created dozens of new arrangements of classic spirituals, and formed several choirs that performed them with fresh vitality. His spirituals, with their haunting melodies, are rich with emotion from deeply moving interpretations of Psalms and hymns.

The concert will be held at St Michaels High School on Saturday, April 23rd at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, April 24th at 4:00 pm. Advanced sale tickets are $20 for general admission and $25 at the door. Students tickets are $5. Purchase tickets at eastonchoralarts.org or call 410-200-0498.

Easton Choral Arts Society, Inc. is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization funded in part by the Maryland State Arts Council and the Talbot County Arts Council.

Easton Choral Arts Society Announces ‘A High Note Event’

The Easton Choral Arts Society announces A High Note Event, an annual cocktail party & silent auction, on Saturday February 27th, from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm at the Talbot Country Club. Chase the cold weather blues away while savoring delicious appetizers, including an Oyster Bar, desserts, and our exclusive cocktail, The High Note, while you mingle to the lively music of the Rob Levit Jazz Trio. Browse through and choose from the outstanding collection of silent auction treasures, plus a few surprises. Each admission ticket includes two free drinks.

Together, with our friends and patrons, we’ll celebrate a midwinter’s evening while supporting the Eastern Shore’s vibrant performing arts community. Tickets are $75 per person, or $80 at the door, and can be purchased by going to our website at eastonchoralarts.org, calling (410) 200-0498, or from chorus members.

The High Note committee planning the festivities at Scossa’s. Sitting left to right: Jeffrey Parker, Karin Kuntz, Deborah Kudner, Penny Hall, Wes Lockfaw and Joey Frankos. Missing Barbara Reinhardt and Marcia Fidis.

The High Note committee planning the festivities at Scossa’s. Sitting left to right: Jeffrey Parker, Karin Kuntz, Deborah Kudner, Penny Hall, Wes Lockfaw and Joey Frankos. Missing Barbara Reinhardt and Marcia Fidis.

..