RIO GRANDE — The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College will be hosting its community and student allied Masterworks Chorale in its end of semester concert this Sunday at 3 p.m. in its Fine and Performing Arts Center Auditorium.
The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
Professional harpist and member of The Ohio Valley Symphony Sally Kelton is anticipated to lend her talents to the program in a unique performance with the choir. URG students Racquel Williams and Adelynne Michaels will lend their vocal talents as soprano soloists during the performance.
Members of the choir will be performing “A Ceremony of Carols” by Benjamin Britten. According to Dr. Sarin Williams, the piece was written in 1942 and geared towards a performance compromised of harp and voices.
Benjamin Britten was born in 1913 and died in 1976. He lived in the U.S. at the time of World War II.
“Britten was on a voyage from the United States back to Great Britain in World War II,” said Dr. Williams. “He was a pacifist but decided he would return home to suffer with his countrymen and head back to Britain. It was quite a dangerous trip in the middle of the war with Nazi U-boats, as you can imagine. He was a passenger on a cargo ship. It was apparently a fairly miserable trip. It took about a month to make that voyage. The boat stopped in Nova Scotia for supplies. While they were resupplying the ship, the passengers were able to get off. Britten found in this little marketplace, a book of 14th century English poetry, which he purchased. That became the inspiration for the ‘Ceremony of Carols.’”
The “Ceremony of Carols” predominantly focuses on the birth of Christ during the Christmas season and what that means for Christendom. Britten blended much of the inspiration from the book he discovered in the marketplace into his work as he made the journey back to Great Britain during the war.
Much of the text in the musical piece is composed of Middle English but is still understandable for individuals who would appreciate its performance.
Dr. Williams praised the qualities of harpist Kelton and said she was a joy to work with. Kelton, a native of Kentucky, is visiting Ohio as part of an endowment which allows her to visit grade schools and universities in order to spread the love of music and better inform students as to the nature and operation of the harp.
Kelton visited Oak Hill High School with performances and demonstrations between 9:20 a.m. and 2:20 p.m. Thursday. She will then head to Buffalo Elementary School in West Virginia Friday to hold demonstrations between 8:30 a.m. and 2:20 p.m. She will return to Gallia County to join Masterworks Chorale dress rehearsal from 1 to 4 p.m. at the URG Fine Arts Stage. Sunday, Kelton will perform at the Gallipolis First Presbyterian Church on State Street from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and then finally at the Masterworks Chorale concert at the URG Fine Arts Stage at 3 p.m.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.