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The Meistersingers Civic Chorus of Hattiesburg announces its 2019-2020 season with Joseph Wilkinson as Artistic Director. Under Wilkinson’s leadership the volunteer community chorus will continue to offer top quality choral music to Pine Belt audiences.
While we are still basking in the memories of our concert in London last June, we are in preparation for an exciting new season.
Our first concert on October 6, is entitled SPIRITUALS IN BLUE MUSIC DOWN IN MY SOUL. Distinctive for their emotional melodies and sumptuous harmonies, Spirituals are credited with the birth of all modern musical genres. The spiritual is a type of religious folksong that is most closely associated with the enslavement of African people in the American South. The African American spiritual constitutes one of the largest and most significant forms of American folksong. They inspired the development of the blues, jazz, gospel, country, and rock-n-roll genres. Simply from a musical influence perspective, the Spiritual is a powerhouse in the history of music and should be performed for that reason alone. Moreover, though, the Spiritual should be performed to remind us of the deep human connection we all possess and the unquenchable desire for justice – to do unto others as we would like others to do unto us – and to hold on to hope in the face of oppression. “In Blue” is the inspiration not only of the sound of this season, but of message. “In Blue” references a verse from the Spiritual Wade in the Water, which asks the question, “Who are these children all dressed in Blue?” The response beckons hope in the freedom sought, “must be the ones who made it through.”
On February 23 we will present Winter in Blue THE MUSIC OF OLA GJEILO.
Ola Gjeilo is a Norwegian composer and pianist, living in the United States. The Meistersingers had the privilege of singing with Ola Gjeilo in New York’s Lincoln Center in 2017. Composed of equal parts traditional choral settings, improvisation, movie score, and jazz the Meistersingers, joined by string orchestra, are pleased to share an entire concert of Ola Gjeilo’s works inspired for winter. These selections are elegant, uplifting, peaceful and hopeful.
Our Festival South concert is Will Todd’s Mass in Blue. Will Todd is a British composer and jazz pianist, best known for combining jazz and blues with traditional choral music. Some may call it bold – or even disrespectful – to take the Latin text of the Mass, so reverently treated in noble settings by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Fauré, Verdi, and others, and to set it chorally against the backdrop of often insistent rhythms of a jazz; but liturgical jazz is nothing new. Many artists (Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck, Jack Reilly, Mary Lou Williams, and others) have used the soulfulness or earthiness of jazz to express personal faith worthily, if not inspirationally. Will Todd is one to add to this list. The Meistersingers, joined by jazz orchestra, are excited to share this complex jazz and blues inspired musical offering of the Latin Mass, sure to be a highlight during Festival South 2020.