The Easton Choral Arts Society (ECAS) will present its annual spring concert, “Gems from Vienna,” on Thursday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 19 at 4 p.m. at Christ Church Easton.
For the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, Easton Choral Arts will present music from the “Four Gems of Vienna” – composers Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Joseph Haydn and Franz Schubert, all of whom did the bulk of their composing in Vienna. The concert will feature vibrant solos, piano and orchestral numbers and stirring choruses from such works as Mozart’s Solemn Vespers, Haydn’s The Creation, Beethoven’s The Mount of Olives, Schubert’s The Omnipotence and more. An extra treat for concert goers will be a surprising twist on the familiar Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. The chorus will be accompanied by a 12-piece orchestra creating a palette of color using the instrumentation, including the organ, piano, strings, and trumpet.
The concerts will feature four guest soloists: Alyssa Cox, soprano; Alexandra Coburn, contralto; Patrick Mason, tenor; and Antony Zwerdling, baritone. Cox, a voice/theater instructor in Annapolis, hails from the Italianate/Bel Canto school of singing leading and is one of the leading soloists in the Baltimore-Washington, DC metro area. She holds degrees in voice and theater from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and postgraduate study at Indiana University. Coburn is currently studying in Washington, DC at the Potomac Vocal Institute under Elizabeth Bishop. Recent roles she has performed include Mistress Quickly in Falstaff, La Principessa in Suor Angelica, and Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro. Mason has been performing classical, theatre and anthem solos for over 25 years and has made nearly 100 solo appearances at NFL, MLB, MLS, NHL, NBA, WNBA and other major sporting events, including locally at Baltimore Orioles and Washington Capitals games. Zwerdling, as an Oratorio singer, he has appeared as a soloist and professional member of the ensemble with Handel & Haydn Society, Washington Bach Consort, Washington Master Chorale, Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Concert Artists of Baltimore, and Philharmonia Baroque, as well as numerous opera companies. He is an active voice teacher, maintaining a studio at Hood College and College of Southern Maryland.
Maestro Wes Lockfaw comments, “We look forward to welcoming these soloists, along with a talented professional chamber orchestra to these performances. Many of these performers and musicians have been with us in previous concerts and promise to delight our audiences.”
“We are also excited to feature one of our choral scholars, Sophie McGee, in one of three movements of Beethoven’s The Mount of Olives,” he adds.
A pre-concert lecture, “Vienna, City of our Musical Dreams,” by Jonathan Palevsky, will be offered prior to the concert in the parish hall, adjacent to Christ Church, on April 16 at 6:15 p.m. Guests can enjoy wine and appetizers with friends of ECAS beforehand and hear Palevsky give insight into the evening’s classical music. Palevsky, a graduate of the Peabody Institute, has been an on-air host at WBJC-FM since 1986 and program director since 1990. He is a regular host of WBJC’s Face the Music, a music review program and he is a frequent classical music lecturer.
Tickets to the lecture are $15 each and should be purchased no later than April 9. Complimentary tickets to the lecture are available to sustaining members of ECAS who have contributed more than $300 for the 2019-2020 season. Tickets to the concert are $25 each. Tickets can be purchased at eastonchoralarts.org or by calling 410-200-0498. Support is provided by Mid-Shore Community Foundation, Talbot County Arts Council, and the Maryland State Arts Council.