As a composer, conductor, educator and humanitarian, the iconic Leonard Bernstein dedicated his life to bettering the human experience through music.
His passion for the performing arts and prodigious talents eventually earned Bernstein worldwide recognition as one of the best American musicians of the 20th century.
“Writing for small ensembles, symphony orchestras, Broadway, film and opera houses, Leonard Bernstein projected a simple message of understanding and hope employing both complex and simple forms and styles – yet always sounding like ‘Bernstein,’ a voice best known in his score to ‘West Side Story,’” says John Mauceri on the Leonard Bernstein website.
This year marks 100 years since his birth, and arts entities across the country are celebrating – including the Fargo-Moorhead Choral Artists.
F-M Choral Artists caps its season with “An American Original: Celebrating Leonard Bernstein” at 7:30 p.m. April 28 and 2 p.m. April 29 at Gethsemane Episcopal Cathedral.
Some of Bernstein’s work featured at the concert include music from “West Side Story,” “Candide,” “Chichester Psalms” and other gems by the American icon.
Dr. Michael Culloton, the artistic director of F-M Choral Artists, says “Chichester Psalms” is one of Bernstein’s most celebrated works. This is the first time Dr. Culloton has taught it to a choir, and he says “it’s time.”
“It’s a wonderful score and one that is considered a treasure for good reason,” Dr. Culloton says. “I’m also excited to present some of the choruses from ‘West Side Story,’ so we’ll see ‘serious’ Bernstein and ‘stage’ Bernstein.”
The F-M Choral Artists will also sing “Choruses from The Lark,” a choral score for a play about Joan of Ark. Lines from the play are incorporated into the choral suite, which will be interpreted by local actress Kayli McIntyre, a junior at Concordia College, at the concert.
“I hope audiences recognize the creative genius who was Leonard Bernstein,” Dr. Culloton adds. “His music is definitive of 20th century America, and the messages found within them are timeless. They will resonate today for very meaningful reasons!”
Tickets to “An American Original: Celebrating Leonard Bernstein” are $5-15 and are available on the F-M Choral Artists website. Gethsemane Episcopal Cathedral is located at 3600 25th Street South in Fargo.
Dr. Culloton also gave us the clear to announce the F-M Choral Artists 2018-2019 season:
November – A concert featuring music by Minnesota and North Dakota based composers
January – “My Song in the Night: Cathedral Classics” with songs from five different centuries
February – “A Singing Valentine,” the organization’s annual benefit
April – A concert premiering a new major work by René Clausen in collaboration with the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra
Sounds like it’s going to be another year of great music with the Fargo-Moorhead Choral Artists! For more information about the group, visit www.fmchoralartists.org.