Davis Children’s Chorale to sing in Memorial Day weekend concert

By From page A11 | May 22, 2013

That’s the ticket

What: “Let Freedom Ring,” music and poetry about Abraham Lincoln featuring the Davis Children’s Chorale, among other performers

When: 4 p.m. Sunday

Where: St. Francis Church, 112 26th St., Sacramento

Tickets: $10-$40, with active military and children 18 and under are free; www.cameratacalifornia.net

The Davis Children’s Chorale will take part in a concert this weekend in Sacramento titled “Let Freedom Ring,” featuring music and poetry about America’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, and celebrating the 150th anniversaries of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Battle of Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Address.

The concert — which also features several other groups — will begin at 4 p.m. Sunday at St. Francis Church, 112 26th St. in Sacramento.

Camerata California is the presenting organization and has invited the Camellia Symphony Orchestra, VITA Academy and the Davis Children’s Chorale to participate in this memorial concert presentation. Camerata Music Director and Conductor Pete Nowlen, who also teaches music at UC Davis, programmed the multi-faceted concert with the idea of reviving some American masterpieces about Lincoln as well as presenting classic pieces.

“The concert is a beautiful coming together of the Sacramento musical community to celebrate one of America’s truly great historic figures,” Nowlen said.

Janie Knudsen, director of the Davis Children’s Chorale, said, “We felt honored to be asked. For a number of our kids, this will be the first time they’ve sung with an orchestra.”

Knudsen added that the Davis Children’s Chorale features 16 members, ages 9 to 15, who have been training together since last summer.

“They sound wonderful,” she said, “and the beautiful add-on is that after this concert, they will also know Abraham Lincoln’s words, because they sang them.”

On the program will be “To the Liberator” by composer George Fredrick McKay, a lush orchestral tone poem inspired by Lincoln’s life and legacy. The program also will include “Lincoln Lyrics,” a choral cantata with music by McKay incorporating verses by poet Edwin Markham. The cantata depicts scenes from the life of Lincoln, and contains charming musical Americana.

Popular in the 1940s, the cantata faded from the repertoire in subsequent decades; this performance will be the first in some 60 years. Composer McKay’s children will be in attendance at the concert.

The piece is built on the ode “Lincoln Lyrics” by Edwin Markham, who taught school in Northern California in the 1870s before acquiring acclaim as the poet of “The Man and the Hoe” and “Lincoln, Man of the People,” which was selected (out of hundreds of submissions) to be read at the dedication in 1922 of the Lincoln Memorial in the nation’s capital.

Also on the program will be “Toward the Unknown Region” by the British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, a musical setting of Walt Whitman’s poem “Darest Thou Now O Soul” from his famous collection “Leaves of Grass,” contemplating the soul’s journey upon death.

The Davis Children’s Chorale joins Camerata and the orchestra for “Words of Lincoln” by Earlene Rentz, a setting intended for young voices containing of some of Lincoln’s most stirring words, including excerpts from the Gettysburg Address.

The Davis Children’s Chorale also will sing the Mary Goetz setting of classic American folk song “Shenandoah,” which was popular during the Civil War.

Patriotic selections also include “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “America The Beautiful,” with an opportunity for the audience to sing along.

Tickets for Sunday’s concert are $10 to $40, with discounts for advance purchases. Active military members and children 18 and under are free. For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit www.cameratacalifornia.net.


Jeff Hudson

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