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A Festival of Choirs

Mozart’s Missa Brevis in C major will be at the center of A Festival of Choirs, a concert showcasing about 250 youth and adult singers who make up the five choruses of the Rogue Valley Chorale Association.

The Adult Choir and the Youth Ensemble — made up of high-school students — will share voices in Missa Brevis, Latin for "short mass." The term usually refers to a composition that is short because part of the text ordinarily set to music in a full mass is left out, or because its performance time is relatively short — though Rogue Valley Chorale's presentation will include the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei.

Michelle Cipollone, Susan Franks, Terry Faulkner and Ken Depp will be the featured soloists in Gloria; Karen Campbell, Sharon Dady, Ralph Dady and Depp in Credo; Joelle Graves, Nora Smith, Roger Graves and Eric Smith in Benedictus; and Kathy Gordon, Larissa Montegna, Terry Faulker and Eric Smith for Agnus Dei. Instrumentation will include a chamber orchestra made up of members of the Rogue Valley Symphony performing violin, viola, cello, bass, trumpet and timpani.

The concert is set for 7 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at the Craterian Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford. Tickets are $10 or $20, $5 for students, and can be purchased online at craterian.org or by calling 541-779-3000. See www.roguevalleychorale.org for information.

The concert opens with the Discovery Chorus — singers in the third and fourth grades — performing John Rutter's "All Things Bright and Beautiful" and a choral arrangement of "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" by Greg Gilpin.

A highlight of the Children’s Chorus — fifth- and sixth-graders — will be a performance of "Once More to the Sea," with lyrics selected by Robert Hughs from "A Sailor’s Life," an anonymous collection of verses about life on the open sea. The song is performed in the style of a sea shanty.

Cantare Chorus — seventh, eighth and ninth grades — presents Stuart Chapman Hills' "Don’t Be Seen," with cello accompaniment by Tom Stauffer.

The concert will conclude as the five choirs and orchestra present "Inscription of Hope" by American composer A. Randall Stroope. The text is based on fragments of an inspirational poem found on a cellar wall in Germany during World War ll. Among the Jewish people hiding from the Nazis in the cellar were children, and it is believed that one of them wrote the poem.

The concert demonstrates the skill levels of Rogue Valley Chorale's singers as they grow from young children to adults. Each choir exhibits heightened skills in vocal control and harmonization, ending finally with the musicianship of the chorale's oldest singers.

Artistic Director Laurie Anne Hunter conducts the adult choirs; Peter and Pamela Nordquist the Youth Ensemble; Shaun Garner the Cantare Chorus; Gerry Flock the Children's Chorus; and Wendy Cawthorne the Discovery Chorus.

Rogue Valley Chorale has performed in Southern Oregon for four decades. Its members share diverse musical backgrounds, including professional singers, actors, music educators and gifted vocalists who simply love to sing.

Former educator and tenor Philip Booth is a 10-year member of Rogue Valley Chorale. [Photo by Michael D. Davis]