Friends of the Rockbridge Choral Society
Vol. 7                                                ONLINE  ONLINE  ONLINE                                            January 2016    
Providing financial support since 1999 for The Rockbridge Choral Society and The Rockbridge Youth Chorale

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Classical Composers - January Birthdays 
January is a big month! Here are a
just a few.

Francis Poulenc
- 1/7/1899 
Maurice Durufle' - 1/11/1902

Wolfgang A. Mozart - 1/27/1756

Sir John Tavener - 1/28/1944
Musical Happenings

1/23/2016 Martin
Luther King, Jr. Remembrance Concert
Audience sing-along and W&L choral groups including University Singers; Cantatrici; Men's Glee Club; MLK Combo. 
1st Baptist Church, 103 N. Main St. Lexington
7:30 to 9 PM

1/24/2016 Faculty Voice Recital by Gregory Parker with piano accompaniment by Timothy Gaylard. Songs and opera arias based on the works of William Shakespeare 
Wilson Hall, Lenfest Center, W&L 3 PM, No tickets required

2/5 and 2/6/2016 !!!!!Our own frequent alto/mezzo soprano soloist, Barbara Hollinshead, leads 2 choral workshop sessions - Cheap Tricks & Techniques for Healthy Choral Singing
2/5, 7 to 9 PM and 2/6, 10 AM to Noon, Lexington
Presbyterian Church, 120 S. Main St.
Supported by a grant from the Friends of the RCS!!!!!

2/6/2016 Andrew Willis brings his 1848 Pleyel piano to perform the works of Chopin.
Lenfest Center for the Performing Arts
8 PM, tickets required

Happy New Year!   

            It's a brand new start. Rehearsal preparations for
Elijah will begin on Monday, January 18th , and we're excited to present this great choral work in April. Christmas has come and gone. We were so happy to have our young singers in the Youth Choirs join us at our December holiday concert. Watching and listening, made one ponder the traditions of Christmas and Epiphany through which music threads. We older singers are blessed with having sung a huge catalog of this music of the season. And, many of us began our choral singing traditions and our catalog at very young ages, in church choirs and school choruses. Why do we sing at such tender ages? How do we decide to begin? Is it something in our DNA? As the young often are, were we inspired by something or someone- a parent, a sibling, a friend, another chorister? What is it about a collection of voices making one harmonious sound? Whatever it is, the talents and enthusiasm that youngsters bring to music will create magic. In this month of reflection and planning for a new year, consider how music is fleeting, timeless, and eternal, all at once, in the voices of young choristers joined and connected from distant past to present. Have a joyous New Year!
Now and Eternal
       What's that school rhyme? In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Over a hundred years before Columbus set sail looking for the mysteries and treasures of the new world, the voices of small boys filled the chapel of New College, the University of Oxford, England. This choir of 16 boy choristers was founded in the year that New College, Oxford was new - 1379. To the present day, each spring, four new singers, some as young as 5, are chosen to replace the four boys who depart at the age of 13, or sooner if their voices change. These boys will spend as many as the next six years together studying, playing soccer, breaking for lunch, learning music theory, rehearsing and singing, leading lives of average school children, doing what all kids their age do until they come together in the music room. There, they transform into professional musicians who sing evening services in the chapel 6 days a week, take their music on tour all over the world, and record extensively.
      Tradition is eternal and fleeting. As the guard has changed each spring, for the last 38 years, Edward Higginbottom has built, led and taught the choir. This spring, when the school term ended, new boys were formally inducted into the choir, donning the cassocks that would be their performance uniform for the years to come as the new boys have done for over 600 years. Higginbottom retired, having found "moments of beauty and intensity that mark you for life...I go away...enriched and I hope it's what touches (the boys) as well."
      Excerpted, CBS News Sunday Morning, December 13, 2015 - Angels hitting the high notes . Watch the full story here.
Lessons and New Carols
      On Christmas Eve, as the winter light fades, hundreds fill the Chapel at King's College, and millions lis ten around the world as the BBC broadcasts the King's College Choir's performance of its yearly Service of Nine Lessons and Carols. The Choir at King's College, Cambridge, founded in 1441 by Henry VI, has delivered this service over the airwaves since 1928. The choir, as originally dec reed by King Henry, is made up o f 16 boy choristers, ages 9 to 13, and fourteen male undergraduates.         
 The Choir at King's College, Cambridge 
        Each lesson recounts the story of the Nativity and is followed by carols or hymns sung by the choir. Most are familiar and usually at least one is a new carol commissioned for the choir and this service. In 2015, Richard Causton, Fellow, in Music at King's College received this commission and chose to set to music a new poem by George Szirtes. The Flight received its first public performance at the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols in December, 2015. On first hearing, the gymnastics this work requires of the young singers' voices is barely imaginable. The ear can hardly comprehend the sounds. When you listen, close your eyes and see "the dogs at the entrance snarl that the doors are locked" in what can only be described as chaos in tune. Only the voices of children could render such sounds!
        Mr. Causton commented on his carol, that as he struggled to find the right poems about the Nativity to set to music, he "had a growing sense that at this precise moment it is perverse to be writing a piece about a child born in poverty, away from home, and forced to flee with his parents, without ... paying reference to the appalling refugee crisis that is unfolding across the world." The Flight is not only a beautiful, eloquent new poem to recall the ancient story of the journey of the Magi, it is a haunting elegy for those pilgrims on the world's seas, roads, and fields, fleeing today in fear and hope for safe harbor. A treasure given by these young choristers, it is music in spun steel and soft tissue.
See the words here, after the 8th Lesson.
Hear the premier performance of The Flight
Find out what it was like to be a chorister at King's in the 1400's. Boys had to be poor to sing!
New Year, New Traditions -
Children's Choir Member - Winfred Liu
         The Rockbridge Youth Chorale's youngest singers belong to the Children's Choir. This year, led by director Lori Parker, there are five singers in this group - Gabriel Dudkin, Samuel Eastwood, Daniel Grow, June Wilson, and Winfred Liu. Winfred is six, was born in Michigan, and moved to Lexington
Winfred Liu with his father Jainbo Liu
with his mom and dad when he was three. His parents were born in China and came to the USto pursue post graduate studies at the University of Michigan. His mom, Ge Bai, took a teaching position in the Williams School at Washington and Lee, and his dad, Jianbo Liu, telecommutes for his work in Maryland. Already Winfred is well-traveled as you might imagine, and immersed in the cultures of two nations. His grandparents, who still live in China, come to the states often to visit. While they speak their native language around the house, with Winfred's help, they are learning English.  
       Winfred likes singing in the choir and says his favorite song so far is Peace , which the choir performed at our holiday concert in December. He also likes rock and roll music, playing at PE in school, and swimming. Like his contemporaries in the New Oxford choir, his favorite foods are hotdogs, French fries, and chicken fingers. Think he could sing in the New Oxford or King's College choirs today? Bet so. He's outgoing, friendly, and confident. He'd be a perfect fit! Welcome to all our young choristers!
Our Donors are Stepping Up! 
         In the fall of 2015, the Friends of the RCS began a new sponsorship drive to underwrite the cost of orchestra players for our 2015/2016 season. The total estimated cost for players is $11,400. We are happy to report that we are nearly half way to funding that cost, largely through donations from our chorus members! The RCS singers give tirelessly of their time and talents each season to bring great choral music to our community. They just keep stepping up, and the Friends are eternally grateful for this support. For a list of available remaining sponsorships, please contact our fundraising committee chairwoman, Anne Hansen. Email to: hansen6@embarqmail.com . Coming soon to our website - Interactive Adopt A Player. Adopting an orchestra player will be even more convenient!

Friends of the Rockbridge Choral Society |
Rockbridge Choral Society
PO Box 965
Lexington, VA 24450