Local choir performs a ‘Requiem’ in Park City
What: John Rutter’s “Requiem” performed by the Utah Conservatory Choral Society
When: 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8
Where: St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 4595 N. Silver Spring Drive
Cost: $15 at the door
Utah Conservatory Choral Society, headed by Debra Cook, the co-founder of the Utah Conservatory, is heading to Carnegie Hall Next week to perform Sir John Rutter’s “Requiem” with Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY).
Before the society, which is part of the Park City Arts & Music Conservatory, heads to the Big Apple, it will perform the piece for Park City on Saturday, Feb. 8, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.
The piece was performed last year in Park City by the Park City Interfaith Council Choir, she said.
“That was sponsored by the Interfaith Council, who went out and raised money and had the help of a lot of churches that threw in their support,” Cook said.
Cook sent a clip of the performance to DCINY, a production company that stages performances at Carnegie Hall and other venues back East.
“They had been noticing what we had been doing with choirs, so they had asked me about the possibility of me bringing a group to New York,” Cook said. “When they saw the clip, they issued a formal invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall.”
Saturday’s performance will be conducted by DCINY artistic director Jonathan Griffiths, who conducted the Interfaith Choir last year, Cook said.
The concert will be used by the Christian Family Foundation and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church as part of their ministry, Cook said.
“In addition, we’ll set up a whiteboard where those who attend the concert will be able to write the names of people they want to memorialize that night,” she said.
Rutter’s “Requiem,” which premiered in 1985, is a seven-movement work that was inspired by the Catholic Church’s Requiem Mass, which offers peace, comfort and eternal rest to the dead, according to Cook.
“The Rutter piece is an interesting change from the Catholic Church’s traditional Mass that is sung in Latin,” she said. “This piece is performed in both English and Latin.”
The work starts off with “Requiem Aeternam,” which is about eternal peace, Cook said.
“Requiem Aeternam” shifts into “Out of the Deep,” which is taken from the Biblical text of Psalms 130.
“This is where the singers sing about our mortality, and how everyone knows that it will end,” Cook said. “From there it goes into ‘Pie Jesu,’ which is basically, ‘blessed Jesus give those who have passed and those of us who remain some peace.’”
One of the most well-known movements of “Requiem” is “The Lord is My Shepherd,” which is from Psalms 23, Cook said.
“This selection follows ‘Sanctus,’ which talks about the holiness of God and his role in our eternities, and ‘Agnus Dei,’ that speaks to the sense of resurrections, both mortal and spiritual,” she said.
The composition ends with “Lux Aeterna,” which means eternal light.
“(This movement) is about the perpetual part of our existence and the light that is found on the other side of the darkness we go through,” Cook said.
The choir will feature more than 70 singers, most of whom are from Park City, according to Cook.
“We also are including conservatory students, former Parkites who have performed with us but have moved, and guests from California and Florida,” she said.
The music will be performed by Orchestra Esperanza, directed by Utah Conservatory faculty member, Dr. Donald Miller.
“Don is collaborating with Meta, a group from Utah County composed of students from Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University,” Cook said.
Cook hopes the performances at St. Luke’s and Carnegie Hall will showcase the budding local arts community.
“We want to introduce the musicians and singers who live here to singers from around the world who will perform with us,” she said. “We want to show that we have a wonderful and valuable group of diverse people of different ages that can create fabulous arts opportunities here.”
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