Philharmonic Presents Spring Concert May 5 at ICC

The Philharmonic Chorale – now in its 89th year – presents its spring concert on Sunday, May 5, at 3 p.m. in the Illinois Central College Performing Arts Center on the East Peoria Campus. One of the oldest choral groups in the area, the Philharmonic Chorale is an in-residence group at Illinois Central College.

The annual spring concert covers a wide range of classical and contemporary works in a mix of styles and moods from sacred to secular. J. Michael Morris is in his tenth year as director of the chorale, and Carol Spayer is the accompanist.

“An Afternoon of Music with the Philharmonic Chorale” begins with a fast-paced and joyful rendition of “Jubilate Deo,” written by contemporary American composer Valerie Showers Crescenz. The first section also includes Rene Clausen’s “Prayer,” with a text by Mother Teresa of Calcutta, “Vox Populi,” by Giedrius Svilainis, and “Ubi Caritas,” by Maurice Durufle.

Rounding out the first half of the concert, the chorale performs two powerful spirituals: “Until I Found the Lord,” by Andre Thomas and “Elijah Rock” by Moses Hogan. Also included in this section is “Legacy,” by Z. Randall Stroope, which commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

The second half of the concert features four American folk songs. The first two, “Nightingale,” and “The Girl I Left Behind Me,” were popular in the Colonial Era. The third, “Away From the Roll of the Sea,” was composed by Allister MacGillivray, who lives in a fishing village on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The fourth folk song, “Where Your Bare Foot Walks,” is based on a mystic Sufi text, and was premiered by New Zealand composer David Childs at his wedding in 2008.

The final section of the concert contains a few lighter pieces. “Emerald Stream,” by Seth Houston, is an environmental awareness piece, which takes its rhythmic repetition from the shape-note singing of the early 1800’s. “Tickle,” by Jonathan Miller of Chicago, is a silly piece designed to make the audience laugh! The final piece is a powerful tribute to music: Joseph Martin’s “The Awakening.” The concluding text of this song captures the soul of every dedicated choral performer: “Let music never die in me! Forever let my spirit sing!” Let all our voices join as one, To praise the Giver of the Song. Awake! Awake! Let music live!”

A reception will follow the concert. Admission is $10 ($8 for students and seniors). For reservations or information, phone the ICC Performing Arts Center Box Office at (309) 694-5136.

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