The American premiere of Associate Professor of Music Joanne Metcalf’s “O Shining Light,” a musical tribute to her former colleague and friend, Jennifer Fitzgerald, highlights the Lawrence University choral concert Friday, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel, 520 E. College Ave., Appleton. The concert is free and open to the public.
Cantala women’s choir, under the direction of conductor Phillip Swan, will perform the U.S. debut of Metcalf’s composition, which honors Fitzgerald, who taught at Lawrence first as postdoctoral fellow and then as an instructor of music before dying of cancer at the age of 32 in 2007. While at Lawrence, Fitzgerald was active in exploring new, interdisciplinary forms of composition.
“O Shining Light,” written for four women’s voices, was commissioned by the Scottish ensemble Canty. The group performed its world premiere last October at St. Machar’s Cathedral in Aberdeen and will release it on CD later this year.
In composing the tribute to Fitzgerald, Metcalf said she tried to create the impression “of a profoundly beautiful outer light, such as that of the stars, that reflects back the beauty of one’s inner light.”
The Lawrence Concert Choir and Viking Chorale, both under the direction of Paul Nesheim, also will perform. The concert choir will sing the traditional spiritual “Hold On,” William Mathias’ “Let the People Praise Thee, O God,” which was commissioned for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, as well as works by Claude Debussy and Eric Whitacre.
The Viking chorale’s program includes Aaron Copland’s “Stomp Your Foot” from his opera “The Tender Land” and the rousing chorus “Let Their Celestial Concerts All Unite” from George Handel’s “Samson.”
The concert will be webcast beginning with a pre-concert program at 7:30 p.m..