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Juniata Choral Union to Perform 'Samson' in Concert

(Posted April 23, 2012)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College's Choral Union will take its audience through an evening celebrating a biblical hero, pausing for occasional musical stops in the Irish countryside in its annual spring concert at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 24, in Rosenberger Auditorium on the Juniata campus.

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

The concert opens with "The Hunt Is Up," based on an English folk song. The selection tells of the King's hunting trip in an English village. The psalm "Laudate pueri," arranged by contemporary choral musician Brant Adams, will follow the opening selection.

The ensemble will perform selections from "Samson," by George Frideric Handel. Handel, one of the Baroque period's greatest composers, wrote the "Samson" oratorio shortly after completing his celebrated "Messiah" oratorio. "Samson" is considered one of his finest dramatic works.
An Irish song, "Londonderry Air" is next on the program. The song has been used with many lyrics over the years, although the most familiar song set to "Londonderry Air" is the sentimental ballad "Danny Boy." The ensemble will sing the "Danny Boy" version.

The next selection will be "Ave Verum Corpus K.V. 618," by Wolfgang Mozart. He wrote the piece less than six months before his death.

Another Irish folk song, "Carrickfergus," which features lyrics about a man pining for his hometown and a lost love, will be performed, followed by "Irish Blessing." "Irish Blessing" is arranged by Bob Chilcott and features lyrics that are a simple Irish blessing set to music.

The traditional song "Reuben and Rachel" is another tale of love and possible separation. The arrangement by Andrew Larson updates the 1871 song written by Harry Birch. The song "Nella Fantasia" is a song set to an instrumental piece composed by movie composer Ennio Morricone for the film "The Mission."
The final selection for the concert will be "River in Judea," is a contemporary song written in the gospel style by Jack Feldman and arranged by John Leavitt.

The Choral Union is the largest choral ensemble at Juniata with a student membership of more than 90 and more than 50 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.