The concerts will be performed twice: at 7:30 pm on Friday, October 11, at the Bellows Falls Opera House, and at 2 pm on Sunday, October 13, at Marlboro College’s Persons Auditorium, in Marlboro.
This year’s selection is the “Christmas Oratorio.” But why in October? Simply because Moyse’s celebrated New England Bach Festival was always held in early October. Thus the scheduling of her annual memorial concert has followed the same tradition.
Under the direction of Mary Westbrook-Geha, who sang mezzo-soprano roles in the NEBF for almost two decades, the concert will treat its audience to complete performances of all six cantatas which make up the “Christmas Oratorio.” Its choral movements are complemented by recitatives and arias sung by four soloists: soprano Hyunah Yu and tenor Steven Paul Spears, who both appeared often in later NEBF productions, and mezzo-soprano Katherine Maysek and baritone James Rittenhouse, who are relative newcomers to the Moyse legacy.
The Blanche Moyse Memorial Orchestra is a baroque ensemble consisting largely of NEBF veterans. It features familiar names in its principal roles – strings: Mitsuru Tsubota, Mayuki Fukuhara, Louise Schulman, Daire FitzGerald, and John T. Kulowitsch; woodwinds: Stephen Taylor, Mark Hill, and Charles McCracken; brass: Michael Gorham and Julie Landsman; organ: Gregory Hayes; timpani: Charles Kiger.
The Blanche Moyse Chorale was founded in 1978 as a program of the Brattleboro Music Center. It is a chamber chorus of approximately 30 singers, who strive to attain the high level of musical artistry exemplified by its original director, Blanche Moyse.
The chorale was the choral arm of the New England Bach Festival. Since 2007, director Westbrook-Geha has led the chorale in performances of works by Handel, Copland, Stravinsky, Mendelssohn, Britten, Palestrina, Schütz, Brahms, and of course J.S. Bach. Although based in the Brattleboro area, the chorale includes singers from neighboring states and beyond.
Memorial concert tickets purchased in advance are $20 for general seating or $40 for preferred seating, and may be obtained from the Brattleboro Music Center at (802) 257-4523, online at brattleborotix.com/boxoffice or bmcvt.org or from any chorale member. Tickets for the Bellows Falls concert are also for sale at Village Square Booksellers in downtown Bellows Falls. Tickets purchased at the door are $22 for general seating or $45 for preferred seating. All student tickets (college included) are $5. Both venues are handicapped-accessible. For any special seating needs, an advance reservation is appreciated.
Both performances are sponsored by Vermont Public Radio. For more information call the Brattleboro Music Center at (802) 257-4523 or visit bmcvt.org.