This weekend I made a trip to New Orleans to visit with family. Although the trip had been prompted by my grandmother’s birthday, it just so happened that my cousin was also singing as part of the Men’s All-State Honor Choir. Being selected to sing in the All-State Honor Choir is one of the highest honors a young singer can receive in Louisiana. Singers from across Louisiana are nominated by their choir directors, and then less than 100 are selected to be part of each All-State Honor Choir with divisions for youth, high school, and college students.
I only caught a few of the concerts, but one did include my cousin’s with the Men’s Choir. They started-off with an ominous, ritualistic song by Veljo Tormis called “Pärismaalase lauluke, An Aboriginal Song.” The percussionist initiated the song with a rhythm which was then fiercely sustained for several minutes by the all-male chorus. This was followed by a nice setting of the Latin text “O Sacrum Convivium” by the Italian Baroque composer Lodovico Viadana and several other selections of differing moods and characters – including a humorous “Pirate Song” which the Women’s Choir seated behind us particularly seemed to enjoy.
Central Louisiana was well-represented at the All-State concert with students from Pineville High School, Avoyelles Public Charter, Alexandria Senior High, and others. I even recognized a few of the singers from their engagement with the Red River Chorale. Plus, we found in the audience Susan and Jerry Cauley, music ministers at Alexandria’s own Emmanuel Baptist Church; Mrs. Cauley is actually one of the repertoire chairs for the Honor Choir, so it should have been no surprise to find her and her husband there at the concert. I also noticed on the program that my former choir director Kevin Caparotta would be playing as accompanist at the Women’s All-State Honor Choir concert, although I didn’t have the chance to say hello. While I used to sing and participate in these sorts of concerts – almost 10 years ago now! – my cousin has carried-on that performing tradition while I have instead branched into music history, composition, and arts promotion. Nonetheless, I was glad to be at his concert this Saturday and hear such talented young singers.
Turning my attention to upcoming events, I did want to mention that the first concert of the Rapides Symphony Orchestra’s 2014-15 season True Classics is this Saturday at Coughlin-Saunders. The orchestra will present Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, Brahms’ First Symphony, and Dvorák’s Cello Concerto with soloist Madeleine Kabat. I have posted my program notes online, if anyone would like to get a head start reading (click here to read). The concert begins at 7:30 PM this Saturday at Coughlin-Saunders. Otherwise, later in November, I am also looking forward to the next Abendmusik – Young People’s Concert on Thursday, November 13 – and the Shreveport Opera’s production of Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata on Saturday, November 15.
Keep up with all of Central Louisiana’s music offerings here at MusicCentral!! Hope to see you at the upcoming concerts.
About Jackson. Jackson Harmeyer is a music historian and composer. He is a graduate of the Louisiana Scholars’ College – Louisiana’s designated honors college – where he completed an undergraduate thesis entitled “Learning from the Past: The Influence of Johann Sebastian Bach upon the Soviet Composers.” He has followed classical music around the world, attending the BachFest Leipzig in Germany, Colorado’s Aspen Music Festival, and many concerts across Louisiana and Texas. Resident in Alexandria, Jackson works with the Arts Council of Central Louisiana as Series Director of the Abendmusik Alexandria chamber music series. He also writes the program notes for the Rapides Symphony Orchestra. As his day job, Jackson serves as Operations Manager of TicketCentral.