Easton Choral Arts to Present its 40th Season Finale

Easton Choral Arts Society to present its 40th season finale with Johannes Brahms’ commanding German Requiem, considered one of the greatest monuments of choral music, on Friday, April 27 at 7:30 PM and Sunday, April 29 at 4:00 PM at Christ Church in downtown Easton. It is a deeply moving and profound choral work, a large-scale piece for chorus, orchestra, soprano and baritone soloist. Under the direction of Artistic Director Wes Lockfaw, the chorus will be accompanied by Soprano Yulia Petrachuk, Baritone Javier Arrey and chamber orchestra.

Javier was born in Valdivia, Chile where he first studied piano and musical theory. Later he studied singing with Professor Hanns Stein at the Universidad de Chile, Santiago, and choir conducting at the Teatro Municipal. He is an alumnus of Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program and the Castleton Festival under Lorin Maazel, and is considered the strongest, singer with a mellifluous, robust baritone. He is heralded as one of the most sought after bel canto baritones of the new generation. In 2017 he joined the roster of The Metropolitan Opera as Schaunard in La Bohème. 

Yulia Petrachuk and Javier Arrey

Born in Russia, Ms. Petrachuk studied at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and is a graduate of the Bern Opera Studio in Bern, Switzerland. Her debut as a professional opera singer was with the State Theater Bern, Switzerland in 2010. According to Daniel Rigazzi, Stage Director at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City,“Yulia is a special and unique artist, able to hold her own on any stage in the world”.

The German Requiem emerged as a deeply personal musical memorial. Brahms was innovative in his combination of styles and use of vernacular German, so different from the long-standing Latin mass for the dead. This requiem, instead of creating a Mass for the dead, was dedicated to the mourners left behind on Earth. The result was a radiant, joy-filled work in seven sections, each concluding with a mood of cheerful confidence or loving promise. Brahms’ German Requiem is a work of great intensity that speaks to people of all faiths and to believers and non-believers alike.

Tickets are $25 for advanced sale and $30 at the door. Children are admitted free (reservation required). Purchase tickets at www.eastonchoralarts.org or call 410-200-0498.

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.

ECAS High School Choral Competition to Highlight ECAS 40th Anniversary

On Saturday, March 3, 2018, in an inaugural event, eight high school choral ensembles will compete onstage at the Easton High School Auditorium for a total of $5,000.00 in prize monies. The ensemble that is judged the best based on their performance that day will receive a check for $2,500.00, second place $1,500.00 and third place $1,000.00. Donations from generous supporters of the Easton Choral Arts Society and grants from the Mid-Shore Foundation and Talbot County Arts Council are making this competition possible. Wes Lockfaw is the Artistic Director of ECAS.

The competition will begin at 1PM with the performance of the first choral group. The final chorus will perform at 3:30 PM. Tickets will be sold at the door for $10 or online at www.eastonchoralarts.org. There is no charge for students. Prize monies must be used for the winning schools’ choral music departments.

The eight high schools that will be performing are, in alphabetical order: Arundel High School, Anne Arundel County; Bel Air High School, Harford County; Easton High School, Talbot County; Edgewood High School, Harford County; Kent Island High School, Queen Anne’s County; Liberty High School, Carroll County; The Bryn Mawr School, Baltimore City; and Tower Hill School, New Castle County (DE). More than 226 students will be competing.

Judges for the March 3 competition will be Dr. William M. Folger, Dr. Devonna B. Rowe, and Dr. James Wilson. Dr. Folger is an Associate Professor and Director of Choral Activities at Salisbury University. Dr. Rowe is currently on the music faculty in the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Dr. Wilson is an Associate Professor of Music, Chair of Music &The Arts, and Director of Choirs at Wesley College, Dover.

As competition coordinator Carolyn Harrison explained:“Developing this competition has been a journey. The journey began with a much narrower scope than what rapidly developed over the course of last spring. As we approach our destination I am pleased with what ECAS has created. It will be a wonderful showcase for the high school ensembles that will take to the Easton High School stage competing for significant monies that will further their choral programs.”

Easton Choral Arts Society choristers are excited about the competition, responding with enthusiasm to the committee’s request for assistance. From offering to donate baked goods, to reaching out for competition booklet ads, to signing up to lend their physical support at Easton High School on March 3, the singers are being highly supportive.

For further information regarding the Choral Competition, please contact the ECAS Choral Competition Administrator and Chair, Carolyn Harrison, at:  ecaschoralcompadm@gmail.com

Easton Choral Arts Society’s “Hit a High Note” Event at Mason’s

On February 22, 2018, The Easton Choral Arts Society will be holding its “Hit a High Note” fund raiser at the newly refurbished Mason’s Redux 2017 restaurant in Easton, MD. The evening will include cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, a three course dinner, live entertainment, silent auctions and a raffle.  Tickets are $100 per person and can be purchased on line at www.eastonchoralarts.org or by calling 410 200 0498.

Mason’s Redux 2017

The Easton Choral Arts Society, celebrating its 40th anniversary, is an auditioned choral ensemble which believes in the power of music to enrich the cultural life of the Eastern Shore. Under the direction of the pre-eminent Artistic Director, Wes Lockfaw, the Easton Choral Arts Society brings a commitment to deliver excellence to our singers, audiences and supporters. While the group is based in Easton, its singers come from all areas of the Eastern Shore.

Come and enjoy an evening at Mason’s with family and friends and support the mission of the Easton Choral Arts Society in its ongoing dedication to the performance of beautiful and inspiring choral music.

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.