Hendricks Chapel Choir to perform May 1 concert, preview of upcoming tour in China
Hendricks Chapel Choir to perform May 1 concert,preview of upcoming tour in ChinaApril 19, 2005Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
The Hendricks Chapel Choir will kick off a two-week musical tour of China on May 16, and members of the audience will be able to take part without leaving Syracuse.
The choir will present a preview of its China tour, “An American Sampler,” on Sunday, May 1, at 7 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel. The concert is free and open to the public, and parking is available in the Irving Garage.
It will be the choir’s final concert on the Syracuse University campus under the direction of G. Burton Harbision, who has been the choir’s director since 1994. Harbison, associate professor in the Setnor School of Music in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, is retiring in May after 27 years at SU and a 38-year college teaching career. The tour of China is the culmination of his extraordinary career and service to the SU community.
The 47-member choir will tour in China from May 16-30, and perform in concert halls in Beijing, Xi’an (two concerts), Guilin and Hong Kong. The choir embarks on an international tour every four years so that each member of the choir has the opportunity to tour internationally during their time at the University. The choir toured Poland and the Czech Republic in 2001. Harbison has also led the group on numerous tours within the United States.
The May 1 program will begin with a representation of 20th-century religious music: Knut Nystedt’s “Cry Out and Shout”; Randall Thompson’s “Alleluia”; and “O Praise the Lord” by Adolphus Hailstork. “This is a chapel choir, and that has to be represented,” Harbison says.
Two Civil War-era pieces, “Dixie,” by Norman Luboff; and “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” by Peter Wilhousky, are included in the program. Two pieces by American composer Aaron Copland, “Stomp Your Foot” and “The Promise of Living,” round out the first half. “Pieces such as these really give the program an American flavor,” says Harbison.
Choir members have learned two Chinese folk songs, “Tui Chao Mian” and “Kang Ding Quing Ke,” by Liu Zhaung, that they will premiere in the program. Zhaung is a former member of the SU College of Visual and Performing Arts music faculty who lives in Beijing and hopes to join the choir on the tour. “The choir has had to work very hard to learn to sing these songs in Chinese,” Harbison says. Two Chinese-American members of the choir have been helping their fellow choir members with the language.
Another piece the choir will premiere, “In Time of Silver Rain,” was written by Fred Thayer ’63, director of choral activities at Lycoming College in Pennsylvania. Thayer, a graduate of SU’s College of Arts and Sciences, is a former member of the Hendricks Chapel Choir. Thayer was a teacher and mentor to the current Hendricks Chapel dean, the Rev. Thomas V. Wolfe, when Wolfe was an undergraduate student at Lycoming.
The program will close with three spirituals, “Ride the Chariot ” (arr. W.H. Smith); “My Lord, What a Mornin'” (arr. H.T. Burleigh); and “Ezekiel Saw de Wheel” (arr. Wm. Dawson). Harbison has closed each concert he has directed throughout his career with a spiritual. “It’s one of America’s strongest musical forms,” he says.
For more information about the May 1 concert, call Hendricks Chapel at 443-2901.