Seven members of the Oasis Church of Christ choir will perform in New York.
The singers will join choir members from across the country to perform at Carnegie Hall under the direction of British composer and choir director John Rutter.
Rutter is set to lead the New England Symphonic Ensemble, soloist Molly Quinn and mass choir in her pieces “Requiem” and “A Ukrainian Prayer” over Memorial Day weekend.
Bill Lehman, music director for the church in Jefferson City, said in a press release that attendees were thrilled to have the opportunity to perform in a world-class venue under the direction of a composer and conductor. world-renowned orchestra.
A former church choirmaster had previously done the program, said Nancy Luehrman, a senior soprano with the choir.
The former principal met Rutter in Kansas City several years ago and signed the church choir (which had periodically sung Rutter’s Requiem since around 1987) for the program, she said.
The program is produced by a group known as MidAmerica Productions Inc., said Steve Price, a bassist with the local choir. MidAmerica does several things at Carnegie Hall, he said, including the annual Memorial Day concert with John Rutter conducting his own plays.
“Part of it has always been Requiem,” Price said. “They’re doing another part using various other numbers. This year is very special. We’re performing a brand new part called A Ukrainian Prayer.”
It’s very special, Price said, because most members of church choirs are familiar with Rutter’s work. And because the Oasis Choir was supposed to perform at the annual concert in 2020, but that was cancelled. Then it was supposed to happen in 2021, but that didn’t happen either.
“Finally, it’s going to happen this year,” Price said.
“We think,” Luehrman quipped. “Fingers crossed. We have our tickets.”
There are seven singers (and four other people accompanying the trip), who are heading to New York for the event.
The event includes about 13 choirs, some of which are quite large, Luehrman said. There will be approximately 200 people on stage.
The event, Price said, requires each choir to choose their own dress for the performance — from Jefferson City, men will wear black slacks and white shirts, women will wear black skirts and white blouses. Each will have pastel accessories.
The musical piece requires at least seven (maybe eight) parts, but the local choir only has seven, she said.
The choir sings a Ukrainian prayer in English at home.
In New York, the choir is to sing the piece in Ukrainian – Rutter wrote the piece phonetically, so choirs could learn it in the second language.
“We thought it would be easier to learn it in English and start with the music,” Luehrman said. “So we can always throw the words. It’s hard.”
For some generations, singing at Carnegie Hall can be a lifelong aspiration. The trip is also an opportunity for the choir members to be tourists, to sightsee and to go to the Statue of Liberty.
“We’re going to do everything we can,” Luehrman said.
Rehearsals take place in the morning or afternoon. After the concert, the artists will all go on a dinner cruise in the port.