The University of Georgia Hodgson Singers will perform their first concert of the 2019-2020 Ensemble Series during the eighth annual Spotlight on the Arts on Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in Hodgson Hall.
Their program, “All Things Rush On,” comes from the title of a piece the ensemble commissioned from Canadian composer Kieren MacMillan. Set to text by Rabindranath Tagore, the piece highlights the general theme of the program, which involves humanity’s need to make peace with and even find the joy in the cycles of life and death. The program’s theme is most explicit in works by Bach, Hailstork, MacMillan and Averitt.
“With such an opportunity, I always strive to program and record new and interesting [pieces] that haven’t yet been recorded—so, much of the repertoire this year has been selected with that in mind,” said Daniel Bara, the John D. Boyd UGA Foundation Professor of Choral Music and director of choral activities at UGA. “The program is, at least in part, also a celebration of music recently composed or arranged.”
The Hodgson Singers will make their second professional recording for Gothic Records this spring.
In addition to the MacMillan piece, they will also premiere an arrangement set by graduate composition student Benjamin Dawson, who won a composition area competition to be named the composer-in-residence for the Hodgson Singers this year. His folk-tune arrangement “I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen” is the first of three pieces he will compose for the choir this academic year. Other recently composed works on the program include pieces by English composers Owain Park and Philip Stopford, both of whom write regularly for the collegiate chapel choirs of England.
Bara included Park’s “Beauti quorum via” to prepare the choir for a larger piece by Park that the choir will sing with the acclaimed British professional choir Tenebrae on Nov. 10 as part of UGA Presents. “Footsteps” was commissioned by Tenebrae to celebrate its 15th anniversary and was intended to be a piece that Tenebrae could sing in collaboration with other choirs.
“It will be an honor to sing ‘Footsteps’ with Tenebrae, but we also wanted to sing a piece by Owain Park that we could perform on our own,” said Bara.
The choir will end the concert with a new suite of Southern hymns set to four-hand piano by American composer William Averitt. The piano accompaniment will be played by two new Hodgson School graduate students, Carlos Varela and Pedro Che. David Starkweather, Hodgson School of Music faculty member, with join the choir on cello for Bach’s motet “Komm, Jesu, Komm.”
“We hope to reach the listeners with thought-provoking and uplifting texts sung with expressivity, vulnerability and joy,” said Bara.“The Hodgson Singers strive to represent the best in choral music-making and hope to give concerts that are memorable and change lives.”
Tickets for the concert are $12 for adults and $3 for students. They can be purchased by calling 706-542-4400, online at pac.uga.edu or at the box office prior to the concert.
Presented by the University of Georgia Arts Council, Spotlight on the Arts is scheduled for Nov. 6-17 and includes dozens of exhibitions and performances in the visual, literary and performing arts. Many of the events are free or discounted for UGA students, and the annual Spotlight on the Arts Family Day will be presented free of charge Nov. 16.
More information on the 2019 Spotlight on the Arts festival, including a schedule of events, can be found at arts.uga.edu as well as on the Arts Council Facebook page (facebook.com/UGAarts), Twitter feed (@UGA_arts) or Instagram (instagram.com/uga_arts).