An all-women composer program is the focus for The Menomonie Singers when they present concerts on Friday, Nov. 17, at 7:30 p.m., at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, New Richmond, and on Sunday, Nov. 19, at 2 p.m. at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Menomonie.
There is no admission charge, but a suggested donation of $10 to defray expenses will be greatly appreciated. A reception will be held following each concert.
A large part of the concert will be taken up with Amy Beach’s Festival Jubilate. It was performed for the dedication of the Woman’s Building at the 1892 Chicago World’s Fair.
Known as the first successful American woman composer of large-scale art music, Beach was one of the most respected American composers of her era. Besides choral works, she wrote symphonies, songs, chamber music, and works for solo piano.
In addition, the women of The Menomonie Singers will perform a Gregorian chant, O Virtus Sapientiae (O Strength of Wisdom) written by Hildegard von Bingen, a composer from the Middle Ages. Also known as Saint Hildegard, von Bingen was a German Benedictine abbess, writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, and visionary. Her music has enjoyed a contemporary revival.
Other works on the program include Simple Magnificat by Ellen Zwilich, two choral pieces by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (sister of Felix Mendelssohn), two short works by Abbie Betinis, a song by Florence Aylward, and Standing As I Do Before God by Cecilia McDowall.
McDowall’s music is a poignant portrayal of Edith Cavell’s last moments. A British nurse, Cavell is celebrated for saving the lives of soldiers from both sides of the conflict in World War I. In addition, she helped some 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium. For this she was arrested for treason by the German army, and ultimately executed.
Dr. Jerry Hui, director of Stout Choral Activities, will conduct. Hui holds degrees in music composition and choral conducting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Oregon. He is an award-winning composer, and directs Schola Cantorum of Eau Claire.
Accompanying the choir in several selections during this concert is Dr. Mark Pruett.
There are currently 36 members in the choir with a mix of many professions, including UW-Stout faculty members and Stout students.
Auditions will be held again in January with rehearsals beginning again in February for concerts in spring. Along with other works, the Little Organ Mass by Franz Joseph Haydn is planned for April. Interested singers should contact Juliana Schmidt, executive director and founder, at email@example.com.
The Menomonie Singers can also be found on Facebook or at themenomoniesingers.org