The Westminster Choir, conducted by Joe Miller, will celebrate its return to Princeton after its January concert tour of the South with a free concert for the community on Monday, January 30 at 7:30 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall on the Princeton University campus.
The program, entitled “Light of a Clear Blue Morning: Sound and Memory,” will explore memory and music's ability to connect individuals and communities. It will include Thomas Weelkes’s Gloria in Excelsis Deo; Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Priidite, poklonitusia” from All-Night Vigil; Bo Hansson’s Lighten Mine Eyes and Paul Crabtree’s Five Romantic Miniatures from The Simpsons, as well Moses Hogan’s arrangement of Battle of Jericho and Craig Hella Johnson’s arrangement of Dolly Parton’s Light of a Clear Blue Morning, for which the program is named. The ensemble will also perform two new works by Westminster Choir College students: Daniel Elder’s Seven Last Words from the Cross and Thomas LaVoy’s White Stones.
Audience members will have the opportunity to participate in a Westminster Choir College project that explores the relationship between music, memory and community.
Entitled Giving Voice to Community, the project documents the unique community created at a concert or performance.
“This concert seeks to connect us in a way that goes beyond words. The power of music, an ephemeral art form, can change the way that we feel about the world,” says Maestro Miller. “Each time we perform we create a new community - a community composed of the choir and the audience. For those few hours we share an experience, a connection, a moment in time. We may enter the concert hall as strangers, and we may never see each other again, but for those few hours we are a community connected through music. “
Before each concert begins, audience members will invited to draw on their memory and consider their lives and to choose one word that defines them as the join the concert “community.” After writing the word on a piece of paper, he or she will be photographed holding the paper with the selected word. All of the photographs taken before the concert will displayed on a monitor outside of the concert hall after the performance and later uploaded to the Westminster Choir College Web site.
Later this season, a video will be created combining the photographs taken at each concert with some of the music performed by the choir, and it will be uploaded to the Internet. This electronic creation will serve as an archive – a memory - of a unique moment in time shared by a community created through music.
Setting the standard for choral excellence for 91 years, the Westminster Choir is composed of students at Westminster Choir College. It has been the chorus-in-residence for the Spoleto Festival USA since 1977, performing both in concert and as the opera chorus. The choir’s most recent recording with Maestro Joe Miller, Noël, received a five-star rating from Choir & Organ magazine. Praised by The New York Times for its “full-bodied, incisive singing,” the Westminster Choir also forms the core of the Westminster Symphonic Choir, which has performed and recorded with the leading conductors and orchestras of our time.
Joe Miller is conductor of the Westminster Symphonic Choir and the Westminster Choir, two of America’s most renowned choral ensembles. As director of choral activities at Westminster, he oversees an extensive choral program that includes eight ensembles. His recordings with the Westminster Choir have garnered critical praise. He is also founder and conductor of the Westminster Chamber Choir, a program that offers professional-level choral and vocal artists the opportunity to explore challenging works for two weeks each summer on the Westminster campus in Princeton.
A podcast featuring Maestro Miller previewing the concert program is available at on the Westminster Choir College Web site or as part of the Westminster-to-Go series on iTunes.
Admission to the concert is free; however tickets are required. Tickets are available through the Princeton University ticketing office at 609-258-9220 or online at www.princeton.edu/utickets.