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Baroque Composers' Works Highlight Choral Union Concert

(Posted November 23, 2009)

Russell Shelley, Elma Stine Heckler Professor of Music, conducts the Choral Union.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Juniata College Choral Union will feature two thrilling choral arrangements of two composers from the Baroque era in the ensemble's concert at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1 in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts on the Juniata campus.

The concert is free and open to the public. The Choral Union is conducted by Russell Shelley, Elma Stine Heckler Professor of Music at Juniata.

The concert opens with "Lullay," featuring former Juniata physics professor Wilfred Norris accompanying the ensemble on recorder.

The group will then perform "In dulci jubilo," by German Baroque composer Dietrich Buxtehude, who lived from 1637 to 1707. Buxtehude was the most famous composer of sacred vocal music in Germany, coming to prominence before Johann Sebastian Bach. (Legend has it that Bach walked more than 250 miles to meet Buxtehude and stayed three months with the older composer.)

A quartet of Juniata musicians will accompany the choral group on the Buxtehude work: Ofir Tomer, violinist and a lecturer in music at Juniata; James Rixey, violinist and a sophomore from Mechanicsburg, Pa.; Erin Burt, cellist and a junior from Spring, Texas; and John Bukowski, keyboardist and professor of mathematics.

The choral union will then perform "Sleep, Child of Winter" and "Son of Maria," both arranged by Karl Jenkins. "Sleep, Child of Winter" will be accompanied by flutist Sara Deppenbrook, a freshman from Beaver Falls, Pa.

Another Baroque composer's work, "Dixit Dominus," by Isabella Leonarda (1620-1704), will be performed, accompanied by the same quartet of Juniata musicians. Leonarda's work is just coming back into prominence. An Ursuline nun, she composed more than 200 works and was one of the few female composers of the Baroque era.

The concert will focus more on the upcoming Christmas holidays in the second half of the program, performing "The First Noel/Pachelbel's Canon" and "Masters in This Hall." The ensemble will continue with "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman" and "La Nanita Nana," which will be accompanied by Omer and Rixey on violin.

The ensemble will wrap up the concert with "Go Tell It on The Mountain" and "Silent Night." "Silent Night" will be accompanied by Norris on recorder. The final selection will be "El cielo canta alegria."
The Choral Union is the largest choral ensemble at Juniata with a student membership of more than 90 and about 25 members from communities in the Huntingdon area. The Juniata Choral Union traditionally performs larger choral works.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.