Artistic director Eliza Rubenstein with accompanist Bob Gunn will lead the Long Beach Chorale in a concert of music praising the Virgin Mary– The 2,000-Year-Old Virgin– at 7pm Saturday, Dec. 10 and 4pm Sunday, Dec. 11 at Grace First Presbyterian Church, 3955 Studebaker Rd.
In the first performance of its 2011-2012 season, the Long Beach Chorale will present the United States premiere of Cecilia McDowall’s Magnificat.
McDowall, who lives in London, informed Rubenstein that the group’s performance of the piece would be the first in the U.S. when the two began corresponding earlier this year. “They say there’s something about Mary, and that’s certainly been true for choral composers throughout the centuries,” Rubenstein said. “What a joy it is to be able to present some of the best and most beautiful Marian music from the past, alongside an exciting Magnificat that no American audience has yet heard.”
The Long Beach Chorale will also perform a wide selection of other works, including music by Javier Busto, William Billings, and Conrad Susa, along with African-American spirituals, and an energetic setting of the famous West Indies tune The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy. The audience will hear an example of early American sacred harp or shape note singing, a Brazilian samba-inspired a cappella selection, and one of the movements from Rachmaninoff’s affecting All-Night Vigil.
The audience is invited to join members of the Long Beach Chorale for a reception after the show. Refreshments and desserts will be available and guests can also bid on raffle prizes.
The Long Beach Chorale & Chamber Orchestra is also launching its new “Adopt a Singer” campaign this season, sharing singers’ stories with the greater Long Beach community and building funds to support ambitious programming for years to come.
In the campaign, members of the chorus are profiled on a new blog and readers have the opportunity to “adopt” the singer by making a donation. Donated funds go directly toward the Long Beach Chorale’s concerts, offsetting the cost of purchasing music, providing scholarships for singers, donating tickets to local nonprofit organizations, and other expenses.
In the vein of the organization’s motto of “Great Music, Up Close,” the profiles in the “Adopt a Singer” campaign will allow readers to get to know the singers better. The group’s membership boasts a great diversity of professions, interests, and talents. “Before we launched the campaign, I knew what most of our singers did for a living, but I never realized we had so many multilingual singers in our midst,” said Long Beach Chorale board member and singer Claire Atkinson. “We even have a singer who previously held a top-secret national security clearance, and a bass who is an expert in tying knots. His expertise in knots and as a forensic engineer is regularly requested in solving crimes that involved knots.”
To read more about the campaign, as well as the singer profiles, visit longbeachchorale.org/blog/ category/adopt-a-singer.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students, and they are available online or at the door.