Boulder Chorale and the Longmont Symphony both strike American theme
By Peter Alexander March 15 at 1:43 p.m.
Taking inspiration from former president Obama’s description of America as “a nation of immigrants,” the Boulder Chorale will present a concert celebrating many of the cultures that have contributed to our national identity.
The concert, to be presented at 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the First Methodist Church in Boulder (March 18 and 19), will be under the direction of Vicki Burrichter, artistic director of the Chorale. Violinist Leena Waite will play “Requiem for Ukraine” by Igor Loboda, and other guest artists will perform music from cultures around the world that have merged on the American continent.
The program opens with an homage to America’s original inhabitants. “River of Living Waters” by Karen Marrolli, the director of music ministries at a Methodist church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is based on a Lacquiparlé Dakota melody. That is followed by two songs from Great Britain that describe the journey from the old world to the new: “The Parting Glass” and “The Water is Wide.”
Other cultures celebrated in the program include those of India and China in Asia, and Mexico and Brazil in Latin America. The tour of cultures ends with music of Broadway by Leonard Bernstein, “Take Care of This House,” which is a reminder that Americans should, as Burrichter writes in her program notes, “work together to care for our collective home.” And finally a spiritual that remembers the enslaved people of our continent, Moses Hogan’s “My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord.”
“Not all of us have come here by choice,” Burrichter writes. “We hope that ending our concert with a spiritual shows our deep respect for . . . . (African-Americans’) innumerable contributions to American culture and life.”
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“A Nation of Immigrants”
Boulder Chorale, Vicki Burrichter, conductor
With Leena Waite, violin
Ensemble of world musicians
- Karen Marrolli: “Rivers of Living Water” (Lacquiparlé Dakota melody)
- Traditional Scottish, arr. Desmond Early: “The Parting Glass”
- Traditional British, arr. Craig Helala Johnson: “The Water is Wide”
- Igor Loboda: “Requiem for Ukraine”
- Leonard Bernstein: “Take Care of This House” from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
- Moses Hogan: “My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord”
- Additional repertoire from India, China, England, Mexico, and Brazil
4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 18 and 19
First United Methodist Church, Boulder
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The Longmont Symphony will present the second of two concerts in the current season focusing on American music over the coming weekend, with performances Saturday and Sunday (March 18 and 19; details below) in the Stewart Auditorium of the Longmont Museum.
Titled “The Art of Influence—America: Part II” the program features works that reflect some of the influences that have shaped the sound of American music. Under the direction of conductor Elliot Moore, the orchestra will present the Colorado premiere of Cover the Walls by Ursula Kwong-Brown, Gershwin’s Lullaby, and Aron Copland’s jazzy Clarinet Concerto with soloist Jason Shafer. The program will be filled out by Maurice Ravel’s tribute to the French Baroque tradition, Le Tombeau de Couperin (The tomb of Couperin).
The versatile Kwong-Brown describes herself as “a composer, sound designer and arts technologist” who also is active as research scientist and political activist. A 2010 honors graduate of Columbia University in music and biology, she has had works performed across the United States and overseas. Her catalog includes music for orchestra, chamber ensembles, vocal and choral works, as well as sound design for dance and theater.
A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Shafer is principal clarinet of the Colorado Symphony and a member of the adjunct faculty at the University of Northern Colorado. He previously appeared with the LSO in 2021, when he performed Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. Aaron Copland’s Concerto was commissioned by Benny Goodman, who played the premiere with the NBC Symphony and conductor Fritz Reiner. If not exactly a reflection of Goodman’s jazz style, the concerto is a tribute to his virtuosity.
Originally composed for piano and later orchestrated by the composer, Ravel’s Tombeau de Couperin was written during the difficult years of World War I. Described by the composer as an homage “less to Couperin himself than to French music of the eighteenth century” generally, the colorful orchestral suite includes movements titled Prélude, Forlane, Menuet and Rigaudon.
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“Made in American 2: The Art of Influence”
Longmont Symphony Orchestra, Elliot Moore, conductor
With Jason Shafer, clarinet
- Ursula Kwong-Brown: Cover the Walls (Colorado premiere)
- Copland: Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra with Harp and Piano
- Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin (The Grave of Couperin)
7 p.m. Saturday, March 18, and 4 p.m. Sunday, March 19
Stewart Auditorium, Longmont Museum