Thursday October 4, 2012

MARLBORO -- On Sunday at 3 p.m., at Marlboro College’s Persons Auditorium, the Blanche Moyse Chorale will once again perform a concert of J.S. Bach’s choral works in memory of its beloved founder, Blanche Moyse.

Under the direction of Mary Westbrook-Geha, this 2nd Annual Blanche Moyse Memorial Concert will feature performances of Cantata #8, "Liebster Gott, wann werd’ ich sterben"; Cantata #140, "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme"; and the Magnificat. The Chorale will be complemented by a vocal soloists and orchestra, both composed almost entirely of veterans of the former New England Bach Festival.

Three of this concert’s four vocal soloists attracted Moyse’s attention early in their professional careers, and have figured significantly in her performances ever since, both at the New England Bach Festival and the Marlboro Music Festival.

Mezzo-soprano Mary Westbrook-Geha, filling in for an ailing alto, made her surprise debut in the 1987 Bach Festival’s Christmas Oratorio. Tenor Steven Paul Spears entered Moyse’s musical family in 1997, when he sang the tenor arias of Cantata #34 & Cantata #151 at the Marlboro Festival. Two years later, soprano Hyunah Yu first appeared with Moyse, joining Westbrook-Geha in the Bach Festival’s St. Matthew Passion. All three soloists have gone on to illustrious careers, beyond the boundaries of Bach and Vermont, in the U.S. and abroad, with accomplishments too numerous to list here.

The fourth soloist, baritone David Tinervia, will make his first appearance at Persons Auditorium. He has been a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Festival and has performed operas and oratorios in the Montreal area and elsewhere. He is currently completing a master’s degree at McGill University as a student of baritone Sanford Sylvan, who performed with Moyse on many occasions from 1980-2001.

The Blanche Moyse Memorial Orchestra is a baroque ensemble consisting mostly of musicians who, over the years, had been selected by Moyse to participate in the New England Bach Festival (1969-2004). It features familiar names in the principal roles: Mitsuru Tsubota, violin; Mayuki Fukuhara, violin; Louise Schulman, viola; Daire FitzGerald, cello; Jack Kulowitsch, bass; Gregory Hayes, organ; Stephen Taylor, oboe; Mark Hill, oboe; and Susan Rotholz, flute. The Chorale is honored by the enthusiasm that this distinguished orchestra has shown in reassembling for this memorial concert.

The Blanche Moyse Chorale, founded in 1978 as a program of the Brattleboro Music Center, is a chamber chorus of about 30 singers, who strive to attain the high level of musical artistry exemplified by its original director, Blanche Moyse. In recent years, director Westbrook-Geha has led the Chorale through performances of Handel’s "Messiah", Copland’s "In the Beginning", Mendelssohn’s "Die Erste Walpurgisnacht", Britten’s "Ceremony of Carols", Palestrina’s "Missa: Hodie Christus Natus Est", Schütz’s "Musicalische Exequien", Brahms’ "Liebeslieder Waltzes", motets and cantatas of J.S. Bach, as well as numerous shorter works.

Although based in the Brattleboro, area, the Chorale includes singers from neighboring states and beyond.

Tickets are $20 general, or $40 for pre-ordered preferred seating, and may be obtained from the Brattleboro Music Center at 802-257-4523, online at bmcvt.org, or general seating will be available at the door. Special wheelchair and handicap accessible seating are available by advance reservation.

The concert will be preceded by a lecture on Cantata #140 at 1:30 p.m., in Ragle Hall at Marlboro College’s Serkin Center for the Arts. The lecture is free, but donations are welcome.

For more information about the Blanche Moyse Chorale contact the Brattleboro Music Center, at 802-257-4523, or visit bmcvt.org. Vermont Public Radio is providing media support for the performance.

The Blanche Moyse Chorale and the Strathmere Festival Orchestra will repeat this program in New York City on Friday, Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m., at St. Joseph’s Church, 371 Sixth Avenue. All tickets to the New York concert are for unreserved general admission, and may be obtained at the door for $25, by cash or check only. For more information about the New York concert, call 212-741-1274 or visit washingtonsquarecatholic.org.