Performing at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in St. Mary’s County on April 22, the St. Mary’s Chamber Singers, Choir, and Orchestra sang and played a variety of pieces for the audience of College and county community members.
With 44 Chamber singers, 71 Choir members, and 44 Orchestra performers, the performance at 4 p.m. was far from small. The performance began with the Chamber Singers, who performed Eric Whitacre’s “Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine” alongside percussionists Gino Hannah and Nick Hughes. The music creates a picture of what a glimpse into the mind of artist Leonardo DaVinci might sound like, not only with Chamber singers, but also with vocalized sounds of flight to accompany the work. The music reflects the words of the story, written by Charles Anthony Silvestri.
The SMCM Choir and Orchestra, performing together with baritone Bob McDonald, a non-commissioned officer in charge of The United States Army Chorus, and soprano Colleen Daly, a professional opera singer, performed the six movements of Dona Nobis Pacem, composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams and written by Walt Whitman. As with the SMCM Chamber Singers performance, Dona Nobis Pacem was conducted by Larry Vote, Professor of Music at St. Mary’s. Vote is also a member of The Tidewater Ensemble, resident musical director to Interact (a theater company in Washington, D.C.), and a baritone soloist.
Meaning “grant us peace”, Dona Nobis Pacem was first performed in 1936 to remember recent wars of the past and state fears of one soon to come. The first movement, Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God”), is based on the original Catholic Mass from which the entire work was named, followed by Beat! Beat! Drums!; Reconciliation; Dirge for Two Veterans; The Angel of death has been abroad throughout the land; and O man greatly beloved. The lyrics are poems by Walt Whitman, who wrote them while he served as a medic during the Civil War. Vaughan Williams composed “Dona Nobis Pacem” as a response to the brutality of war he saw as he served as an ambulance driver and medic during World War I. The two works combine to be a sweeping epic of music that vilifies wartime atrocities and praises the peace of humankind.
The concert seemed to be well-received by College and community members.
Following a performance this past Sunday, the Music department will next be hosting the River Concert Series this summer, beginning in June and ending late-July.