Purdy, Joplin, Houston find common ground in music

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

John Rutter, MidAmerica Productions bring distant choruses together


About 600 miles separate Houston, Texas, from the towns of Joplin and Purdy, but on June 10 at 8 p.m., choruses from all three locations, having traveled well over 1,000 miles, will convene on the stage of Carnegie Hall to perform John Rutter’s Requiem, as part of MidAmerica Productions’ 36th concert season.

The chorus of more than 100 voices will be drawn from the following ensembles:

• Houston Masterworks Chorus, Houston, TX (Tom Jaber, Director)

• Purdy Concert Choir, Purdy, MO (Lauren Lee, Director)

• Missouri Southern Concert Chorale, Joplin, MO (David L. Sharlow, Director)

• Southern Symphonic Chorus, Joplin, MO (David L. Sharlow, Director)

 It will be the Carnegie Hall debut for the Texas and Missouri choruses, and the conducting debuts in the hall for the two choral directors dividing podium duties. David L. Sharlow will lead the first four movements of the Requiem, and Tom Jaber will take the podium for the final three movements. They will be joined by Caitlin Redding, mezzo-soprano soloist, and the New England Symphonic Ensemble.

“This will be my third time working with Peter Tiboris and MidAmerica Productions,” Sharlow said. “But, what is particularly delightful this time is the chance to guest conduct. It reminds me of my first trip as a college student back in the 80’s, when my director, Cecil J. Riney, guest conducted Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music and Mo. Tiborus conducted Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with other choirs, and our choir (the Friends University Singing Quakers) also performed a solo set.”

"Members of the Houston Masterworks Chorus are thrilled to be participating in this concert,” Jaber said. “This joint appearance, in which I will co-conduct with David Sharlow, marks HMC's first New York City performance in its 32 year history. Thank you, Peter Tiboris and MidAmerica Productions, for this great opportunity to make music in America's premiere concert venue." 

“I am delighted to offer my students the once-in-a-lifetime experience of singing on the stage of the prestigious Carnegie Hall,” said Lauren Lee, Director of the Purdy Concert Choir. “I would like to thank Dr. Sharlow for offering us the opportunity to join him on stage in New York City.”

Following in the footsteps of Fauré and Brahms, John Rutter in his Requiem interprets the title loosely, with a very personal choice of texts that mixes liturgical Latin from the traditional Roman Catholic Office of the Dead with English-language scripture – Psalms and passages from the Book of Common Prayer. The composer describes his textual choices as “disposed so as to form an arch-like meditation on the themes of life and death.”