Last updated: March 16. 2013 11:39PM - 876 Views

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The Symphonic Chorus of the Choral Society of Northeast Pennsylvania, under the direction of Dr. Alan Baker, is now accepting new members for spring 2013.

The chorus will prepare and perform two twentieth-century masterworks, Maurice Durufle’s Requiem and Zoltan Kodaly’s Missa Brevis. The performance will be offered on Saturday evening, May 11 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral of Wilkes-Barre with accompaniment by organist Mark Laubach.

Each work, explains Baker, came to life amid the turmoil of the Second World War. Kodaly originally composed the Missa Brevis in 1942 as an organ work. However, in 1944, while taking shelter in the cellar of a convent during the Russian siege of Nazi-occupied Budapest, he modified the music for chorus and organ.

“The music really captures in a very haunting way that situation,” said Baker. “It’s almost like a long prayer set to music, pleading and hoping for peace.”

Durufle completed his Requiem in 1947 shortly after the end of the war. His masterpiece also began life as suite of organ solos based on Gregorian Chant themes from the Catholic Funeral Mass.

“The Requiem is thus filled with these ancient melodies, which gives it a very timeless and serene feeling,” said Baker.

Durufle also uses the same texts as employed by Faure in his famous Requiem, omitting most of the graphic references to the terrors of the Last Judgement to craft a musical testament to faith, comfort, and tranquility.

Guided by the mottos, “Artistry through Opportunity” and “Excellence through Education,” membership in the chorus is open to any interested adult singer with semester tuition of $75, which includes 3 complimentary tickets–valued at $45– for the concert. Singers also purchase and retain their own musical scores.

Current college and university students may participate tuition-free with their purchase of the music.

Rehearsals begin Feb. 4 and are held each Monday evening from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Langcliffe Presbyterian Church in Avoca. The church is centrally located between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre and easily accessed from Interstate 81. To receive additional information, including directions, contact the Choral Society at 343.6707 or visit their website at www.choralsociety.net.

Formed in 1999 through the merger of the former Singers Guild of Scranton and the Wyoming Valley Oratorio Society, the 70-voice Symphonic Chorus performs not only the masterpieces of the choral-orchestral repertoire, but the most recent of contemporary western and world music. The chorus has collaborated regularly with the NEPA Philharmonic in the orchestra’s popular “Home for the Holidays” concerts, as well as in other choral/orchestral masterworks, including recent performances of Brahms’s German Requiem, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem, and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. The Chorus is also heard in regional broadcasts on WVIA-FM, and has appeared in a variety of national-touring shows – including pop/country icon Kenny Rodgers and Star Wars in Concert.

These programs are supported by The Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts, a joint effort of the PA Council on the Arts and the Pocono Arts Council, and by a Lackawanna County Arts and Cultural Grant, a program of the Lackawanna County Commissioners and the Lackawanna County Council on Art, Culture and Education.

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