Notes from Concord Chorus Music Director Kevin Leong

Richard Pittman and I had been trying to stage an all-Concord collaboration between our ensembles for a few years.  We had considered a number of pieces to perform, but when he proposed Michael Gandolfi’s Chesapeake: Summer of 1814, which celebrates the 200th anniversary of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” I knew at once that it was the perfect idea.

Chesapeake is a fun and inventive work by an excellent (and local) composer, and we are having a blast working our way through it, all the while learning about the origins of our national anthem as well as American and British popular music of the time.

Working on the Gandolfi is especially welcome this spring because we are also preparing for our own performance of Handel’s Messiah on May 30.  Handel’s music is, of course, completely wonderful, but working on the Gandolfi provides a nice change of pace at each of our rehearsals.  (Although not as much of a change as one might think since Gandolfi cleverly managed to work in a bit of Handel’s “Judas Maccabeus” into his piece!)

The Concord Chorus has not performed with the Concord Orchestra for many years, and we are all very much looking forward to working with Richard Pittman and his players.  It is sure to be an exciting collaboration and an event, we hope, that Concord, which is fortunate enough to support so many musical organizations, will be proud of.

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