Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA choirs to present concert of sacred works at Sacred Heart Church

April 25, 2012 - Sylvia Bierschenk

NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS - For their final concert of the season at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 3, the three choirs of Stephen F. Austin State University will each present a sacred choral masterwork. To complement the works' religious subject matter, the concert will be held in Sacred Heart Church in Nacogdoches.

"Traditionally, at the end of each semester, the SFA choirs and orchestra combine to present one composer's single masterwork," said Dr. Tim King, SFA director of choral activities. "But this May we're making quite a change with three masterfully constructed compositions."

The Women's Choir will open the concert with "Litanies a la Vierge Noire," which composer Francis Poulenc wrote in 1936, shortly after the tragic death of a friend and a subsequent pilgrimage to the popular shrine of Our Lady of Rocamadour, where stands a black stone carved statue of the Virgin Mary, explained David Howard, SFA associate director of choral activities and the ensemble's director.

The organ accompaniment will be provided by Jeremy Bruns, member of the SFA music faculty.

The Choral Union, a 70-member mixed chorus also directed by Howard, will present Leonard Bernstein's "Chichester Psalms," a three-movement setting of selected Psalms, in Hebrew, originally scored for a choir of men and boys and boy soprano.

For the Choral Union's presentation, females will sing the treble and male alto parts, and Howard's 11-year-old son, Stuart, will sing the boy soprano part. SFA music faculty members Bruns (organ), Emily Mitchell (harp) and Scott Harris (percussion) will provide the accompaniment.

Under King's direction, the A Cappella Choir will present "Mass" by Frank Martin, a Swiss composer who wrote the work in 1922 but locked it away in his desk for 40 years until he finally consented to have it performed in the Netherlands.

"Since its premier, the work has become a pillar of the choral repertoire due in part to its superb artistic craftsmanship and emotional content," said Dr. Tim King, and the choir's director. "It's a work I've always wanted to direct!"

"All three choirs will combine to close the concert with an anthem of unity, 'The Hour Has Come' by Srul Irving Glick," King continued. "This will be an evening the community won't want to miss."

Admission to the concert is free. Sacred Heart Church is located at 2508 Appleby Sand Rd. For more information about the concert, please call (936) 468-6407.