By TARA LYNN JOHNSON
For 21st Century Media
The more than 65 members of The Choristers will raise their voices in song performing Anton Bruckner’s “Mass in E Minor” and the world premiere of Composer-in-Residence David Hobb’s “Jubilate and Te Deum.” The concert, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 26, will close their latest season.
Artistic director David Spitko calls it a “tale of two magnificent works of music.” The Mass is difficult, intense and emotional. The piece by Hobb features nine movements, each with their own sound, which Spitko thinks will leave audiences feeling buoyant.
Spitko created The Choristers in 1975 and has enjoyed every minute.
“I have been blessed with a board of directors and a choir that has enabled me to program, prepare, and direct not just all the well-known challenging choral works, but many that are just as wonderful but that, for reasons known only to history, are unjustly neglected choral works,” he said. “The Bruckner ‘Mass in E Minor’ falls into that category. That is one of the many ways The Choristers is special.”
Spitko, an attorney who was born in Norristown and grew up in Ambler, has been singing most of his life, unlike singer and board member Michael Henry, who discovered the joy of choral singing only about 14 years ago. His daughter, Robin, was a member and after seeing her perform, Henry decided to give it a try, too.
Church was the only place where he sang prior to joining The Choristers. He said the experiences are different because choral music is more complex. He thinks the “Mass” by Bruckner is beautiful, especially the higher voices (sopranos and altos) and the bass line, which is his part and is enjoyable to sing.
“I didn’t know much about the composer and what it would be like,” he said. But after listening to a recording of the piece, “I loved it. Sometimes it has to grow on me, but this I loved immediately.”
Henry, a retired pharmaceutical company project director, has no training as a singer, but enjoys it so much that he doesn’t mind practicing a home. Of course he attends rehearsal every Friday night. He meets his daughter for dinner and then they rehearse with the group. Extra family time is a benefit as well as having met some really nice people.
“Some of them I’ve known for a long time,” he said. “Some have been there longer than me, and there are always some new people coming in. Everyone’s very friendly.”
Becoming a better singer is challenging, but that’s what makes it fun and interesting.
“We’ve sung in German, English, a lot of Latin, Russian,” he said. “And the music itself has its difficult passages that take your time to learn, but it’s always satisfying to learn a piece and to sing it well.”
And it’s a commitment, but one he doesn’t mind making.
“It’s a good time at the end of the week to relax and doing something I enjoy,” he said.
He hopes that the audience will enjoy the concert, which he thinks will be uplifting.
“If you don’t know the type of music, it’s an interesting introduction,” he said. “You may come away really liking choral music.”
IF YOU GO
WHAT: The Choristers perform Anton Bruckner’s “Mass in E Minor” and the world premiere of David Hobb’s “Jubilate and Te Deum.”
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 26
WHERE: Trinity Lutheran Church, 1000 W. Main Street, Lansdale.
TICKETS: Advance tickets: $20; seniors $15; students $5 (each ticket price $5 more at the door).
INFO.: Call (215) 542-7871 or visit thechoristers.org.