Spring is a season when thoughts often turn to Earth. It is thus fitting that the Genesee Chorale celebrates nature and the planet in its April 5 and 7 concerts, “Voices of the Earth.”
The April 5 concert begins at 7 p.m. at Pavilion High School, 7014 Big Tree Road, Pavilion.
The April 7 concert begins at 7 p.m. at St. James Episcopal Church, 405 E. Main St., Batavia., and will have the added feature of a display of art work by area students created in connection with GO ART!
In a time of concern about climate change the future of our planet, “Voices of the Earth” was a theme that came easily to Ric Jones, who directs the 70-member Chorale.
“As a lover of nature and spending time outdoors, I am always drawn to themes of nature in music,” he said. “As I was researching music, I found myself selecting music with themes of nature, and music that centered around beautiful poetry.
"It was a natural step from there to decide to make a program focused on the Earth. And with the devastation we are seeing in our world, I think it is important to draw attention to it, and our responsibilities for it.”
He looked for music that would challenge singers, and that would be both enjoyable and inspiring for singers and audience. Several of the selections are taken from poetry. For example, “There Will Come Soft Rains” and “The Cloud” are poems by Sara Teasdale, and “The Peace of Wild Things” is a poem by Wendell Berry.
Another poem, “Little Birds” by Octavio Paz in Spanish, was set to music by Eric Whitacre, who incorporated bird calls into the piece, as well as a surprise ending. Listeners may also be surprised by special effects in “Whispering Waters.”
“I think the audience will really enjoy some of the nontraditional things we are doing with the choir,” Jones said. “Bird calls, sounds of water, etc. I also think they will really enjoy our special guest musicians, Bob Holley on bongos and Fran Woodworth on flute. The bongos help give 'Gently (Walk on the Earth)' a pop/world beat feel."
More traditional pieces include “The Pasture,” which invokes a pastoral America; “Linden Lea,” a Dorset (a coastal county in Southwest England) folk song; “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” an Anglican hymn; and an arrangement of “For the Beauty of the Earth.”
“I most want the audience to listen to the words,” Jones said. “The text is so important in these works. There are many moving words and much poetry designed to make us, as humans, stop and think about the world around us.”
Tickets are $10 each. They may be purchased via credit card or PayPal through Chorale’s website box office, www.GeneseeChorale.com. They are available as “will call,” or from Chorale members, or at the door. Further information is available on Chorale’s website.