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April 8, 2016 - 3:31pm

Genesee Chorale to perform 'Carmina Burana' based on medieval poems, featuring renowned Alexander soprano

posted by Billie Owens in Genesee Chorale, news, Emily Helenbrook, alexander.

(Submitted photo: Alexander native Emily Helenbrook, soprano.)

Press release:

The Genesee Chorale is excited to offer two performances of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” on Friday April 22nd and Friday April 29th. The April 22nd performance will take place at 7 p.m. in Kilbourne Hall at the renowned Eastman School of Music in Rochester. The April 29th performance will be at 7 p.m. in the beautiful sanctuary of St. James Episcopal Church, located at 405 E. Main St. in Batavia.

“Performing this amazing work will truly be a memorable experience for us and for the audience,” said Ric Jones, director of the large, Batavia-based community chorus. “This performance will run the gamut of human emotion; excitement, intrigue, humor, and love all rolled into one amazing work."

“Carmina Burana” is a scenic cantata based on a collection of 24 of the 254 poems found in the medieval collection "Carmina Burana" -- a manuscript composed of 11th – 13th century poems and dramatic texts, believed to be written by clergy in Italy and Western Europe for traveling scholars, universities and theologians. The collection of texts was discovered in 1803 in the Benedictine monastery of Benediktbeuern in Bavaria (Germany).

You might recognize the exciting “O Fortuna” which was first introduced to mainstream media in the 1981 John Boorman film "Excalibur." Other appearances in movies include "Glory" (1989), "The Hunt for Red October" (1990), "The Doors" (1991), "Natural Born Killers" (1994), and "The General’s Daughter" (1999).

The Chorale will be accompanied by three outstanding soloists: Emily Helenbrook, soprano; John Clayton, tenor; Joe Finetti, baritone.

Alexander native Hellenbrook is a senior at the Eastman School of Music, studying with Carol Webber. Helenbrook has performed several times as a featured soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic and in several appearances with Ars Nova Musicians in the Viva Vivaldi Festival. She also appeared twice on the nationally acclaimed show "From the Top," recorded at the Chautauqua Amphitheatre and Kodak Hall at Eastman.

Clayton is a tenor based in Buffalo. He has been described as “One of Buffalo’s top vocalists” who performs “gallantly.” He studied music and voice at SUNY College at Buffalo and has worked with vocal coaches from across America and Europe. Clayton is a frequent soloist with choral ensembles in Western New York. He has also been featured in concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Nickel City Opera. He has sung the National Anthem for Buffalo Bills home games and is a current member of the Harmonia Chamber Singers.

Finetti, bass – baritone, enjoys various performing opportunities in the Rochester area. He recently appeared as the beleaguered Herr Schlendrian in Bach’s "Coffee Cantata" at Nazareth College, interpreted the Bass role of Haydn’s "Creation" several performances with the Finger Lakes Chorale, and sang Broadway favorites as a guest of the Irondequcit Chorale. A longtime member of the baroque ensemble The Publick Musick, he has sung solo roles in numerous Bach cantatas and masses as well as period performances of Handel’s "Messiah." Finetti performs regularly with the Renaissance group Musica Spei, the annual sponsor of the Rochester Early Music Festival as well as the well-known local chamber choir Madrigalia. He has a practice of family medicine in Greece, NY, and lives with his wife Maria Mastrosimone, also a family physician, in the Highland Park neighborhood of Rochester.

The performances will also feature two talented pianists, Doug Hanson and Howard Spindler. Five percussionists from the Batavia and Rochester area will accompany the work.

Tickets for the performance in Kilbourn Hall at eastmantheatre.org/events/genessee-chorale.

Tickets for the performance at St. James are available on the Genesee Chorale Web site, www.GeneseeChorale.com, from any Chorale member, or at the door. For more information please contact the Chorale president, Heather Lovelace at (716) 531-8986.

Genesee Chorale Director Ric Jones is the owner of Imagine Music Publishing. In addition to being the musical director of the Genesee Chorale, he serves as musical director of the Brighton Symphony Orchestra and The Middleport Community Choir. He is also the organist at St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church in Medina and Trinity Lutheran Church in Wolcottsville.

The Genesee Chorale is a community choir comprised of singers from all walks of life. It draws membership from Genesee County and seven surrounding counties. The repertory of the Genesee Chorale encompasses a wide variety of music in various styles from motets and madrigals of the Renaissance, to folk, musicals, and jazz. Over the years, the Chorale has championed contemporary works for choir as well as larger liturgical settings.

The upcoming performances are made possible in part with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered by the Genesee Regional Arts Council.

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