Bradley Chorus, Orchestra Team Up
November 22, 2013
St. Mary of the Immaculate Cenception is the site of the Bradley Community Chorus and Bradley Symphony Orchestra concert on November 24. The Community Chorus is under the direction of Dr. John Jost. Dr. Timothy Semanik is the music director for the Bradley Symphony Orchestra.
The complete concert story is found in the Arts Plus section of the Sunday, November 17 edition of Peoria Journal Star
By LESLIE RENKEN OF THE JOURNAL STAR
Posted Nov. 16, 2013 @ 3:45 pm
PEORIA — With its soaring ceilings and reverberant acoustics, the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception is the perfect place to perform great choral music. John Jost always looks forward to directing the annual Bradley Community Chorus concert there.
"It's more exciting to hear a choir in those kinds of acoustics because it makes everything bigger and fuller," he said.
St. Mary's was built in the tradition of the great European cathedrals.
"Along with the paintings and sculpture, music was part of the art in the church," said Jost. "The acoustics were part of the artistry in building a church so the music would sound beautiful."
The Bradley Symphony Orchestra will team up with the Bradley Community Chorus at 4 p.m. Nov. 24 for the performance of three Te Deums — one by Franz Joseph Haydn, another by Antonin Dvorak, and a third by Anton Bruckner.
Written in Latin, the Te Deum is a three-part poem created some time between the 4th and 6th centuries. The first part praises God the Father, the second praises Christ, and the third section is a prayer for salvation.
"The text has been attributed to various saints, but nobody knows for sure who wrote it," said Jost. Used by both Catholic and Protestant churches, the work is celebratory.
"It's very joyful and triumphant music," said Jost.
Over the years many composers have been inspired to write music for the text. Though they accompany the same Latin words, the three pieces being performed Nov. 24 are very different.
"The Bruckner is very dramatic music, almost like an opera," said Jost. "The Haydn is basically cheerful and happy most of the way through. And the Dvorak, he really liked folk tunes, folk type music, and you can really hear that in his particular setting."
Both the Bruckner and Dvorak pieces incorporate soloists. Kerry Walters, associate professor of voice at Bradley University, will perform the soprano solos. Debra Austin, a graduate of Bradley University and a member of the voice faculty at Illinois State University, will do the mezzo-soprano solos. Eric Ashcraft, a Bradley grad who teaches voice at Luther College in Iowa, will perform the tenor parts, and John Michael Koch, an associate professor of music at Illinois State University, will do the tenor parts. The symphony is being conducted by Timothy Semanik.
Acoustics aren't the only reason the winter concert is held at St. Mary's rather than Dingledine, the university's concert hall. The number of musicians in the Bradley Symphony Orchestra has grown over the years, and there is no longer room for the entire community chorus and the symphony to perform there together. About 115 musicians and singers will perform Nov. 24. About half of the chorus is made up of community members — the other half is students, and for some of them, the experience of singing in St. Mary's will be a first, said Jost.