|Concert Choir Holds 77th Annual Spring Tour
The 77th Annual Spring Tour of the Lebanon Valley College Concert Choir will take place Thursday, March 21 through Sunday, March 24, concluding with a home concert on Sunday, April 7 at 3 p.m. in the Miller Chapel. There is no admission charge, although a free-will offering will be collected in support of the host churches' music ministry. Dr. Mark Mecham, chair of the department of music and Carmean Professor of Music, will direct the 81-voice choir.
Thursday, March 21, 7 p.m.
Christ Lutheran Church
69 Main Street
Hellertown, Pa. 18055
Friday, March 22, 7 p.m.
Bethlehem Presbyterian Church
2 Race Street
Pittstown, N.J. 08867
Saturday, March 23, 7 p.m.
Leacock Presbyterian Church
3181 Lincoln Highway
Paradise, Pa. 17562
Sunday, March 24, 3 p.m.
Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church
252 Dock Street
Schuylkill Haven, Pa. 17972
Sunday, April 7, 3 p.m.
Miller Chapel, Lebanon Valley College.
The program is titled "With Cheerful Voice," which is a reference to Louis Bourgeois' 1551 setting of the Old One Hundredth, "All People That On Earth Do Dwell," the anthem opening most of the performances. It introduces a varied program of choral works representing many types of music from several countries around the world.
At the core of the program are four related works: two songs composed by Blake Henson, one for the Westminster Choir, and another composed for the 2010 Ohio All-State Choir, "And Dream Awhile," which is based on "The Sleeping Beauty" by Samuel Rogers. Between the Henson settings, the choir will perform Morten Lauridsen's "Sure On This Shining Night" and conclude the quartet with Shawn Kirchner's setting of the traditional Appalachian song, "Bright Morning Stars" for choir and baritone soloist. A setting of Robert Herrick's "My Flight for Heaven" will also be included.
Other works include a Missa Brevis Eclectica, with the Kyrie movement from Palestrina's "Missa Brevis" (1570) and a setting of the Gloria movement written 500 years later by contemporary Swedish composer, Lars Edlund: from the Renaissance to the Scandinavian avant-garde, complete with quarter tone singing and tone clusters. The choir will also perform an exquisite setting of "Lux Aeterna" by the late Edwin Fissinger, scored for eight-part choir, soprano and baritone soloists. They will also perform Eric Whitacre's "Lux Aurumque."
In honor of the 100th anniversary of Benjamin Britten, his works "Wolcum Yole" and "This Little Babe" from his "Ceremony of Carols," as well as Britten's setting of Psalm 100, "Jubilate Deo in C" for organ and choir are included. John Rutter's setting of Psalm 81, "Choral Fanfare," is also featured.
Audiences will hear Kirchner's arrangement of the Kenyan folk song, "Wana Baraka," Jester Hairston's arrangement of the African-American Spiritual, "Poor Man Lazarus," and Susan Brumfield's setting for women's choir of the Acadian folk song, "La Violette." The program will conclude with Moses Hogan's traditional African-American spiritual arrangement, "I Can Tell the World," and the Concert Choir's traditional benediction, "The Lord Bless You and Keep You" by Peter Lutkin.
In addition to the four tour performances and home concert, the choir will conduct choir exchanges at the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts Thursday, March 21 and with the North Hunterdon High School Choirs Friday, March 22.
The Concert Choir has toured each year since 1936. In addition, the choir has been heard on more than 30 NBC national radio broadcasts including National Radio Pulpit and Great Choirs in America. The choir has performed with the Harrisburg Symphony orchestra and holds a standing invitation to appear at the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., and the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, New York City. The choir has toured internationally to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Great Britain , Italy, Central Europe: the Czech Republic, Austria, and Hungary, and Scandinavia: Norway and Denmark. Plans are underway for an LVC Sesquicentennial Choir Tour to New Zealand in 2016.
Mecham has been chair of the LVC Music Department since 1990. He received the Thomas Rhys Vickroy Distinguished Teaching Award in 1998. As director of choral activities he conducts the LVC Concert and Chamber Choirs. In August 1992, he appeared as guest conductor of the Salt Lake Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and from 1993–2002 served as the musical director of the Lebanon County Choral Society. At the May 2012 commencement, the Lebanon Valley College Student Government honored Mecham as Educator of the Year.
Mecham graduated from the University of Utah with degrees in music education and choral conducting. He completed his Doctorate in Musical Arts in Choral Music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Mecham has taught at Southern Utah University, the University of Texas at Tyler, and the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota.