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Winchester choir to offer "Mass Appeal"

By Josette Keelor

The Arts Chorale of Winchester's upcoming concerts are entitled "Mass Appeal," and the name pretty much says it all.

Movements will include Mass texts ranging from the Renaissance era to 2008, and will feature French composer Louis Vierne's "Solemn Mass," said Jennifer Volkmann, Arts Chorale publicity chair.

The spring concerts this weekend will be indicative of the tradition the Winchester chorus has forged over the last 12 years. With two major performance seasons -- in December and April -- and upward of 70 members -- the choir sings everything from Bach to Broadway.

This weekend, the choir will offer all five movements of "Solemn Mass" in the first half of the concert. Then, following a solo by organist Richard McPherson, members will perform "The Spheres," a piece by Ola Gielo written in 2008. The choir will close with Bach's "Dona Nobis Pacem," Volkmann said.

"They're all Mass texts," she said. A typical Mass has six movements, she added. This weekend's performances cover a wide range of musical influences, "but they're all in Latin; the text is the same all the way through."

She said the choir chose to perform Vierne's work because he was an organist at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris during the early 20th century, and this year is the 850th anniversary of the cathedral's groundbreaking.

Last spring, the choir performed jazz music at the Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival in Delaware, and Volkmann said December's format each year mainly is inspired by holiday music.

Though the choir accepts new members year-round, Volkmann, a soprano, said September and January are the times when they seek the most help, after breaking for the summer and over the Christmas holiday.

From teens to seniors, the choir often attracts whole families, she said.

"We have a wide age range."

The Arts Chorale of Winchester will perform "Mass Appeal" at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at St. James the Greater Catholic Church in Charles Town, W.Va., and at 4 p.m. Sunday at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Winchester. Admission is by donation, suggested rate $10 per adult. For more information, visit www.artschoralewinchester.org.

Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com


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