2007-04-26 / News

Jamestown chorus in Ocean State choral concert on April 29

By Sam Bari

The Rhode Island Festival Chorus will present their second concert with RISings II this Saturday, April 29, at 3 p.m. at East Providence High School.

"The first concert was such a success that we had to do another," said B. J. Whitehouse, director of the Jamestown Community Chorus. "At the first concert we had about 300 singers and an audience of 700. This time we'll have approximately 225 singers and we expect a full house of at least a thousand. The tickets will all be sold," he added with enthusiasm.

The Rhode Island Festival Chorus is the melding of five of Rhode Island's finest choral groups into one large choir of approximately 225 vocalists. According to Whitehouse, this concert will also have guest singers comprised of the East Providence High School Chamber Chorus and the Rhode Island Children's Chorus who will join in the finale.

Each group will be allowed fifteen minutes to present their best. Then, guest director Dr. Robert Harris of Northwestern University will take over and conduct the mass chorus, Whitehouse said. The Festival Chorus will sing "Ave Verum Corpus" by Mozart, and a special composition of new music by Dr. Harris to the poem "Silver Swan." The finale will be an audience participation rendition of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

"Nothing is more powerful than over a thousand voices in song," Whitehouse said. "When we performed the first concert and all those voices filled the auditorium, it was overwhelming," he added.

RISings II will feature five participating choruses: All In A Chord, a women's barbershop chorus from Wickford; the Carillon Women's Chorus from Burrillville, a traditional chorus; the Cumberland-Lincoln Chorus, the largest group, sings Broadway and pop; the Jamestown Community Chorus will give a classical renaissance presentation; and the West Bay chorus of Warwick, Coventry and West Warwick, a traditional chorus.

The Rhode Island Children's Chorus will present a medley of folk tunes, while the East Providence High School Chamber Chorus will sing a selection of contemporary classics.

"We are privileged to have Susan Hogan of WPRI, Channel 12 News, as the master of ceremonies, as well as guest accompanist Dale Munschy," Whitehouse said.

The Jamestown Community Chorus will sing "The Echo Song," an Italian renaissance piece, Antoine Dvorak's "New World Symphony" theme, a humorous French piece called "He is Handsome," and the late Bill Karl's "Prayer for Peace."

"Since the first performance of RISings last year, we've seen other choral festivals make their presence known around the state and throughout New England," Whitehouse said. "It's a wonderful thing to see and hear everyone singing. I'd like to think that we inspired others to follow our lead. It's kind of nice to know that the JCC was the first to invite other choruses to sing together," he added.

RISings II, the Rhode Island Festival Chorus and the Ocean State will raise its voice in song again at East Providence High School, 2000 Pawtucket Ave., East Providence, on Sunday, April 29, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the door. For more information, call 401 334-9310. RISings II can be visited on the Internet at www.rifestivalchorus. org.

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