The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

October 24, 2012

RiverChor fall concert is Sunday

Herald Staff Report

CLINTON — RiverChor will open its season with a concert at 2 p.m. Sunday at Zion Lutheran Church, 439 Third Ave. South.

The concert is free and open to the public; free-will offerings will be taken.

The featured work of the program will be “Requiem,” by English composer John Rutter.

Composed in 1985, “Requiem” uses text from Scripture, the Catholic liturgical “Mass for the Dead” and the Anglican “Book of Common Prayer.”

It is scored for soprano soloist, choir and a small instrumental ensemble consisting of flute, oboe, cello, tympani, glockenspiel, organ and harp, played on piano.

“This is a wonderful work, in the long tradition of requiems by composers such as Mozart, Brahms, Verdi and Fauré,” Rob Engelson, RiverChor conductor, said. “The texts represent a nice balance between mourning the dead and comforting the living, and Rutter’s evocative music captures the spirit of those texts. In that sense, it is very similar to the requiem of Brahms. It is also in line with our tradition of presenting works of a memorial nature on our fall concert, which usually occurs around All Saints’ Day, a time of remembrance in the church season.”

The rest of the concert will include a mix of sacred and secular songs, including “Jam Sol Recedit, which means “Now Sinks the Sun,” a work by American composer Horatio Parker. Another featured work will be Rutter’s “The Terrible Tale of Tom Gilligan,” a piece about a talking scarecrow from Maine who runs for the U.S. Senate.  

“This is a favorite piece for us,” Engelson said, “and we like to perform it when there’s an important election, as there is this year.”

RiverChor was organized in February 2004 and has presented concerts each year since. It also has performed several concerts with the Clinton Symphony Orchestra.  

In February 2011, the choir participated in the world premiere of a work for a chorus and concert band, “Reagan of Illinois,” as part of the Ronald Reagan centennial celebration held in Dixon, Ill.  

The choir will have two more performances in December — the annual presentation of Handel’s “Messiah,” with the orchestra, on Dec. 2 at Zion Lutheran; and a fourth appearance with the Clinton Symphony Orchestra on its holiday concert Dec. 8 at Clinton High School.