The greatest composers in the history of
classical music all wrote music for religious services or using religious
The Grand Rapids Symphony left the concert
hall and entered the cathedral for the opening concert of its 2015-16 Sacred
Dimensions Series on Saturday, March 5.
Choral Celebration,” featuring the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus and the Grand
Rapids Symphony Youth Chorus and Junior Chorus all joined the orchestra in the Cathedral of St. Andrew in
Grand Rapids to perform music
spanning several centuries from the medieval era to modern times.
Shangkuan, conductor of the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus; Sean Ivory, conductor
of the Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Chorus; and Jackie Sonderfan Schoon,
conductor of the Grand Rapids Symphony Junior Chorus, collaborated to lead two
More than 300 musicians were part of the program
that lead Daniel Winthrop Mason to comment on the Grand Rapids Symphony’s
Facebook page, “You are indeed so fortunate to have such a wonderful symphony
society, a public that will support it, and a leadership that consistently
inspires such support!”
melodies and work by unknown composers as well as great works of choral
literature by G.F. Handel, including his Coronation Anthems “Zadok the Priest”
and “The King Shall Rejoice,” were part of the program.
Handel’s Coronation Anthems, the 125-voice Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus sang “The
Ground” by contemporary Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo.
56-voice Junior Chorus sang the traditional Hebrew melody, “Hine ma tov,” plus
an arrangement of Handel’s “He Shall Feed His Flock” from “Messiah.”
91-voice Youth Chorus sang Gjeilo’s “Song of the Universal,” and together both
youth choruses performed “Hope for Resolution,” composed by Ivory and by Paul
Caldwell, a choral music director and composer formerly based in Grand Rapids.
contemporary setting of Ave Maris Stella by Mark Thomas, who served as director
of music at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in the 1990s, was sung by the
all-volunteer Symphony Chorus and Youth Chorus.
program ended with Gustav Holst’s “O God Beyond All Praising,” arranged by Nick
Palmer, current director of music at the cathedral of the Roman Catholic
Diocese of Grand Rapids.
than 270 voices sang the hymn, joined by congregation on the final verse.