RIO GRANDE — University of Rio Grande will be hosting its fall concert for the Masterworks Chorale on Nov. 22 at the John W. Berry Fine and Performing Arts Center at 3 p.m.
The group will be performing Mark Hayes’ “Requiem.” There is no charge for the event and it is open to the public.
“A requiem is a traditional Roman Catholic Mass for the dead,” said URG Director of Choral Activities Dr. Sarin Williams. “This is a new piece written in 2013 and first published and performed in 2014. Just a year ago, it’s really new still. As is typical of Mark Hayes, although it is a typical, classical requiem with most of the traditional elements, movements and texts of the Requiem, it also has some newer contemporary elements.”
Requiem, while being a ceremony for the dead, is often a word used to describe musical composition with setting parts of a requiem Mass.
While Hayes’ piece includes Latin words and phrases of the traditional ceremonial music, it is then translated into English throughout the piece, save for the movement “Dies Irae,”which translates as “Day of Wrath.” Hayes also writes with some jazz elements, according to Williams, and the style can be heard through some of the music.
Williams estimates the concert to be around 45 minutes.
“Masterworks is what we affectionately refer to as a ‘communiversity’ ensemble,” Williams said. “The purpose of the group is to allow our university undergraduate majors to perform some larger classical works from what we would call the choral canon, or expected music that is oftentimes performed. Because our music majors here might not have the largest numbers, it’s nice to augment that with community folks that then can perform some larger pieces than we could do with just the music majors.”
Williams said the music performed by the group can, at times, be relatively complex, but that the point was to have fun and to make the best of both academic and communal singers.
“(About the requiem), the Roman Catholic Mass is one of the first musical genres that was sung. It came out of chant and so it has roots in the medieval era,” Williams said. “It has continued since then to be a integral part of choral repertoire.”
According to Williams, Hayes wrote the piece in honor and in memory of his passed parents.
“For (Hayes), ‘Requiem’ centers around the idea of peace and bringing rest. It’s how the work starts with the ‘requiem aeternam’ statement and it’s also how it ends,” Williams said.
Halfway through Hayes’ music, he features the movement ‘Dies Irae’ which speaks of God’s judgment upon the world and those who have died. However, the music gradually sifts back to more peaceful tones in reflection of Hayes’ influence.
Members of Masterworks Chorale include Mandy Adkins, Camille Beverly, Racquel Sims, Kristen Saber, Brooke Wolni, Margaret Evans, Marlene Hoffman, Evelyn Kirkhart, Nicolyn Smith, Jordan Lombardo, Matthew Rinehart, Duane Will, Clyde Evans, Jeff James, David Lawrence and Vinton Rankin.
A solo will be sung by baritone and URG Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. David Lawrence. Mary Billman will serve as the concert’s pianist.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.