The Fort Myers Symphonic Mastersingers open their 19th season with a performance at Florida Gulf Coast University’s U. Tobe Recital Hall on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 3 p.m.
The concert will feature the organization’s Chamber Chorus under the direction of Artistic Director Shannon Arnold. The program entitled Music in Transition features selections written by composers facing challenges and changes in their lives.
The imaginative theme behind this program mirrors the Mastersingers’ season as they work with a new conductor this year while seeking to build on the growth and successes of the recent past. Reflecting Director Arnold’s desire to add more female composers to the Mastersingers’ repertoire, the program includes works by Abbie Betinis, Maddelena Casulana, and Mendelssohn’s sister, Fanny Hensel.
When asked about the season, Ms. Arnold replied, “The Chamber Chorus is proud to present Music in Transition as our first concert for the 2019-2020 season. We are going back in time, starting in the Renaissance period, acknowledging composers who used choral music to overcome challenging times in their lives.” She added, “I am very excited to start the season with such a great mix of selections in such a wonderful hall to make music.”
The ensemble will sing music as diverse as a William Byrd piece from the 16th century, works of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven, to contemporary selections composed by Susan La Barr and Mastersingers’ Vice-President and FGCU faculty member, Dr. Jason Bahr.
Says Dr. Bahr about the concert, “I am very pleased to have one of my pieces included in the Music in Transition program. All persons will face trials in their lives, but how does one respond? For a composer, often the answer is to create music.”
He continues, “My work, Song of Praise, was written at a particular moment of crisis for me. Doctors had recently discovered a major congenital heart defect which required extensive surgeries to repair. Between two open heart surgeries, I wrote this piece. On the chamber singers’ program, I will be making music with my friends, including this piece I wrote about my faith — what can be better than that?”
Tickets for the Sept. 29 concert are $10, $7 for students, and can be purchased at the door the day of the event or by going online to www.mastersingersfm.com.
The full Mastersingers chorus begins rehearsals for the season on Monday, Sept. 9 at Peace Lutheran Church, 15840 McGregor Blvd, Fort Myers. Auditions are being held for singers in all voice parts. For information on how to audition for the group, for the Mastersingers’ season calendar, or for more information on the Music in Transition concert visit www.mastersingersfm.com.