In July, about forty members of the UT Chamber Singers choral ensemble will serenade concert-goers in some of Ireland’s famous cathedrals. Their trip will also be the subject of a documentary.
But first, they will give the East Tennessee community a chance to enjoy some of the same music at a send-off concert Thursday, June 28. The 8:00 p.m. event, which is free and open to the public, will be at Farragut Presbyterian Church, 209 Jamestowne Blvd.
The concert, entitled To the Emerald Isle, will feature selections from the Anglican Church genre of Choral Evensong, which includes such musical forms as Preces and Responses, a call and response form of singing. This choral genre also includes the chanting of psalms by the choir, a practice that dates back centuries. It has been set to music by hundreds of composers.
Watch the video below for a preview of the group’s musical presentation.
Two days later, on June 30, the choral ensemble will fly to Ireland for a ten-day concert tour with stops in Dublin and Belfast.
Their performance venues will include Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, which is the national cathedral of the Republic of Ireland; Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin where George Frideric Handel premiered his famous Messiah; Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, where St. Patrick is believed to be buried; and St. Nicholas’ Parish Church and Bangor Abbey, both in Belfast.
“For many of the students, this will be their first international trip,” said Angela Batey, interim director of the School of Music, director of graduate studies, and director of choral activities. She coordinated the trip.
Planning for the trip began two years ago. Preparations began in earnest in January when Batey required trip participants to sign up for a specially created course in the spring, Special Topics: Cultural Studies of Ireland.
It taught them about the culture and history of Ireland, from its religious conflict to its musical legacy. They learned of the two countries inhabiting the island—Republic of Ireland, a free-standing nation, and Northern Island, which is under the British crown.
Students also received a historic perspective of Choral Evensong, from the early Renaissance period to the Victorian era to the twentieth century.
“We want them to be aware and sensitive to cultural differences,” Batey said. “I think the students, having gone through the class, will now experience what they’ve learned.”
While in Ireland, the ensemble will perform thirty-eight pieces of music including several composed by a UT alumnus now attending graduate school at the University of Miami. Batey commissioned him to write the works.
Two members of UT’s Video and Photography Center will travel with the choral group to collect film to produce a documentary. The same team filmed the UT choral group’s premiere solo performance at Carnegie Hall in 2007. That documentary won a Silver Telly Award, a national honor that recognizes the best film and video productions, online video content, and local, regional and cable TV commercials and programs.
The documentary will bring more exposure to the university, Batey said.
It will likely be shown on UTTV, the university’s cable channel, and on campus.
“I want it to be used as a recruitment piece that shows UT’s Ready for the World initiative in action and how it makes a different in these kids’ lives,” she said. “I want to share the growth of our students in many ways.”
Lola Alapo (865-974-3993, email@example.com)