When the Music Director of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Hanover, NH wants to "pull out all of the stops" for an Ascension Evensong, she need only ask her incredible network of musical friends.
This Thursday, May 5th at 6:00 pm the St. Thomas Choir along with a talented group of extra voices and instrumentalists from all over New England, honor the Ascension with festive hymns (Salve festa dies, Song 1, Gonfalon Royal, and Deo Gratias) as well as spectacular organ voluntaries by Messiaen & Bach and the beloved Gloria by Antonio Vivaldi.
The featured vocal soloist for the Gloria is two time Metropolitan Opera National Council district winner and regional finalist, Mezzo-Soprano, Laura Compton who has worked extensively with Marilyn Horne and performed internationally. Ms. Compton will be joined by Baroque specialist Soprano Katherine Yost and Early Music aficionado, Alto Megan Helm.
Lisa Willems, Director of Music Ministry at St. Denis Catholic Church in Hanover will also be lending her musical talents on the organ. Diane Belcher directing and performing from a Baroque continuo organ.
The St. Thomas Choir will be joined by instrumentalists Kevin Bushee & Francis Liu, violins; Laurie Rabut, viola; Alice Robbins, cello; Julianne Russell, bass; Chris Belluscio, trumpet; Sarah Davol, oboe; and Bill Good on theorbo. They specialize in historically informed performance practice which is another way of saying that they try to recreate the music exactly as it would have been played when the composer wrote it. The result is a lighter, brighter and purer sound with great flexibility and delicate ornamentation.
Antonio Vivaldi was a Catholic Priest working in an orphanage for abandoned girls in Venice from 1703-1740. He taught the girls to play string instruments and sing. Many of his works, including the Gloria, were created with them in mind.
There may be no better way to spend a Thursday night than basking in the musical glow of this extraordinary Evensong.