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Five San Joaquin County Choirs to Perform in Carnegie Hall
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Five San Joaquin County Choirs to Perform in Carnegie Hall

Stockton Conductor Bruce Southard, in Debut, to Lead John Rutter’s Mass of the Children

On Saturday, June 1, more than 80 people from San Joaquin County will make simultaneous Carnegie Hall debuts. 

On that day, during a concert that starts at 7 pm, Bruce Southard will conduct a chorus of more than 150 voices at the legendary New York venue in John Rutter’s Mass of the Children. Eight ensembles will come together to form that chorus, with Stockton and Lathrop accounting for more than half of it. 

It will be the first appearance in Carnegie Hall for everyone in the chorus, as well as for Dr. Southard. They will be joined by soprano soloist Christina Major; baritone soloist Nathan Matticks; and the New England Symphonic Ensemble. The performance is part of MidAmerica Productions’ 36th concert season.

The chorus for Mass of the Children will be drawn from the following ensembles:

  • Belvidere High School Chamber Choir, Belvidere, NJ (Ignacio Angulo-Pizarro, Director)
  • The Stockton Youth Chorale, Stockton, CA (Joan Calonico, Director)
  • The Fargo-Moorhead Youth Choir, Fargo, ND (Joshua Dahl, Director)
  • Pompton Lakes High School Chorus, Pompton Lakes, NJ (Christopher Nappa, Director)
  • Mable Barron Choir, Stockton, CA (Matt Short, Director)
  • San Joaquin Delta College Choir, Stockton, CA (Bruce Southard, Director)
  • The Stockton Chorale, Stockton, CA (Bruce Southard, Director)
  • Lathrop High School Advanced Choir, Lathrop, CA (Elizabeth Van Eerde, Director)

As befits a work with the word “children” in its title, three parent-child pairs will be in the Stockton Chorale contingent, making this truly a family affair.

“I was humbled and honored to be invited to conduct John Rutter's Mass of the Children at Carnegie Hall,” states Dr. Southard, director of two of the participating choirs. “This is an incredible opportunity for my students at San Joaquin Delta College, as well as the members of the Stockton Chorale, the Stockton Youth Chorale and the other ensembles. I cannot think of a more satisfying way to make my conducting debut at Carnegie Hall than with the choristers I work with on a regular basis.”

Elizabeth Van Eerde, Director of the Lathrop High School ensemble, performed at Carnegie Hall as a student at Carnegie Mellon University in the orchestra. “I am honored to see my students have the same experience on one of the most prestigious stages in the world!”

Matt Short, Director of the Mable Barron Choir, adds, "We are very excited to represent our school and our city in the most famous concert hall in the world!"

Mass of the Children is unusual in John Rutter’s oeuvre for including a prominent place for a children’s choir. The sung text mixes segments of the Latin missa brevis (no Credo) with some English poetic texts, including Bishop Thomas Ken’s morning and evening hymns for the scholars of Winchester College. The morning-to-evening progression suggests the concept of a complete day, waking to sleeping, or alternately the landmarks of a life.

Sharing the Playbill

Another John Rutter work will be performed on the June 1 concert: His Magnificatwill be led by David R. Thye, who previously conducted this work at Carnegie Hall in 2016. This performance will feature the first Carnegie Hall appearance of three choirs from the Republic of Korea. Dr. Thye will conduct the New England Symphonic Ensemble; soprano soloist Christina Major; and a massed choir of more than 140 voices consisting of these groups:

  • Freeman High School Mixed Chorus, Freeman, SD (Mindee Birnstiehl, Director)
  • Central Regional High School Choir, Bayville, NJ (Elizabeth Moore, Director)
  • PyeongTaek Women’s Choir, Gyeonggi-Do, Republic of Korea (Huengsup Song, Director)
  • YongIn City Happy Women’s Choir, Gyeonggi-Do, Republic of Korea (Huengsup Song, Director)
  • Life Road Singers, Seoul, Republic of Korea (Tom Keumsup Song, Director)
  • Continuo Arts Symphonic Chorus, Summit NJ (Candace Wicke, Director)

The concert will also include two works performed by different sets of choirs from Colorado. Composer Kevin T. Padworski will conduct the world premiere of his Wanderlust, with the New England Symphonic Ensemble; baritone soloist Kyle Albertson; and a choir drawn from the following groups:

  • Sine Nomine, Brighton, CO (Kevin D. Crowe, Director)
  • Air Academy High School Choir, U.S. Air Force Academy, CO (Austina Lee, Director)
  • Central Regional High School Choir, Bayville, NJ (Elizabeth Moore, Director)
  • Northfield High School Nighthawk Choir, Denver, CO (Matthew Steele, Director)

Conductor Jill Schroeder-Dorn will conduct Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem with the New England Symphonic Ensemble; vocal soloists Christina Major,soprano, and Nathan Matticks, baritone; and a choir of 130 comprised of members of the following ensembles:

  • Denver Chorale, Denver, CO (Valerie Montaño, Director)
  • Central Regional High School Choir, Bayville, NJ (Elizabeth Moore, Director) 
  • Colorado Christian University Choir, Lakewood, CO (Jill Schroeder-Dorn, Director) 
  • Summit Choral Society, Breckenridge, CO (Jill Schroeder-Dorn, Director) 

A prelude concert by the three Korean choirs who also will perform in Rutter’s Magnificat will take place at 6 p.m. before the performance.

Purchase Tickets

Concerts in the Isaac Stern Auditorium/Ronald O. Perelman Stage are $150, $100, and $50. Tickets may be obtained by contacting CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800, visiting the Carnegie Hall Box Office at 57th Street and 7th Avenue in New York, NY, or by going online to www.carnegiehall.org). For more information, contact molly.waymire@piptix.com

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Bruce Southard, Conductor

Bruce Southard is currently the Director of Choral Activities at San Joaquin Delta College as well as the Artistic Director for the Stockton Chorale. As an award-winning teacher, Bruce's passion is working with young musicians as they grow and develop. He holds music degrees from the University of the Pacific, Western Kentucky University, and North Dakota State University. He resides in his home town of Lodi, California with his beautiful wife, Holly.

About San Joaquin Delta College Choir – Bruce Southard, Director

The choirs at San Joaquin Delta College have a long history of excellence. The three choirs that make up the Delta choral program are comprised of singers from a variety of backgrounds and majors.

About The Stockton Chorale – Bruce Southard, Director

The Stockton Chorale, founded by Dr. Arthur Holton, has been part of the San Joaquin Valley arts scene since 1952. An auditioned chorus, the Chorale performs a wide range of repertoire each season in addition to regularly commissioning new choral works. A regular musical partner of the Stockton Symphony, the group has toured such places as England, Italy, and Australia. This will be the third appearance by the Stockton Chorale in Carnegie Hall, the last having been in 1991.

About The Stockton Youth Chorale – Joan Calonico, Director

Founded in 1987, and supported by the Stockton Chorale organization, the Stockton Youth Chorale has provided a fun and engaging space for young singers in 3rd through 12th grades to grow as musicians. The Youth Chorale consists of the Treblemakers (grades 3-5) and the Concert Choir (grades 6-8), as well as a new a cappella ensemble for high school students launched in 2018. In addition to concerts with the Stockton Chorale, the Youth Chorale performs its own concerts and regularly sings the National Anthem to open the Stockton Ports baseball season.

About Mable Barron Choir – Matt Short, Director

The Mable Barron Choir is comprised of 6th, 7th and 8th grade students from Stockton's Mable Barron School in northern California's San Joaquin Valley. The Mable Barron Choir regularly 

performs at multiple local music festivals and sporting events, including at the University of the Pacific and Delta College, and at Stockton Ports baseball and Stockton Heat hockey games.

About Lathrop High School Advanced Choir – Elizabeth VanEerde, Director

Lathrop High School is in its eleventh year, having opened in 2008. The Concert Choir and Show Choir are non-auditioned, while the Advanced Choir is an auditioned ensemble. The Advanced Choir participates in community and regional events. The musicians performing tonight are members of the LHS Advanced Choir who have competed in San Joaquin Delta College’s Choral Festivals.

About MidAmerica Productions

Maestro Peter Tiboris created and conducted his first concert in New York on January 7, 1984, at Lincoln Center, featuring The American Symphony Orchestra, soloists, and three choruses, the Louisiana Chorale of Acadiana, Camerata Singers of Baton Rouge, and Collegiate Chorale of New York. Although he didn’t realize it at the time, Mr. Tiboris had just started his own successful production company, MidAmerica Productions, which would become the foremost independent producer of choral concerts in Carnegie Hall.  

During its 36 years, MidAmerica Productions has brought together conductors, soloists, and choral and instrumental ensembles from the U.S. and abroad to appear at New York’s top venues, including Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, Weill Recital Hall, and Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall; and Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fisher Hall (now David Geffen Hall) at Lincoln Center. In addition to presenting instrumental and classic choral works, MidAmerica Productions has championed the works of contemporary composers with approximately 92 World Premieres, 21 United States Premieres and 99 New York Premieres.

Additionally, MidAmerica Productions has presented concerts in numerous U.S. cities and in countries throughout the world, including Greece, England, Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Italy, France and Russia.

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