Members of Annapolis area church choirs from St. Margaret’s Episcopal, Calvary United Methodist, and St. Martin’s Lutheran will join together in concert on Sunday, August 26 presenting selections from Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s The Atonement and Felix Mendelssohn’s Elijah. The concert will be held at 7 p.m. at Calvary United Methodist Church located at 301 Rowe Boulevard in Annapolis. Child care will be provided.
The 80-member joint choir and accompanying orchestra will be under the direction of music directors Scott Taylor of Calvary United Methodist, James R. Fitzpatrick of St. Margaret’s, and Timothy Smith of St. Martin’s. David Beatty of Calvalry has also assisted with rehearsing the choir.
Noted baritone and soloist at Washington National Cathedral Bobb Robinson will sing role of Elijah and Michael Calmes will sing the role of Obadiah. Calmes is the acclaimed tenor from Boston who has sung for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and regularly appears with symphonies around the world.
The Atonement will feature Rayanne Gonzales, soprano, with Benjamin Taylor, baritone, Sarah Balcom, mezzo soprano, and Candace Potts, contralto. Gonzales is a Metropolitan Opera finalist and has been featured in the Broadway musicals In the Heights and Phantom of the Opera. She can currently be seen in the Arena Stage production of The Music Man. Taylor and Potts recently returned from a singing tour of Russia and Brazil.
This concert is the first for this musical partnership among these Annapolis area churches. “Since coming to Calvary in 2008, I have recognized that summer offers a special chance for music making that we don’t always have anymore,” said Taylor. “Most church choirs take a hiatus; many people’s schedules are more relaxed, and some people who cannot commit to being a part of a church choir that meets and sings each week in the rest of the year can commit to eight weeks of rehearsal for a special project.”
Taylor said he wanted to partner with St. Martin’s and St. Margaret’s because he found both churches to foster great musical talent among their volunteer musicians. “None of the three churches involved could have produced a 80-voice choir on their own. We all benefit from working together,” Taylor said.
Choosing the music for the concert was a collaborative effort. “I mentioned that our choirs were feeling particularly empowered having just performed Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s neglected masterpiece The Atonement,” said St. Margaret’s Director of Music James R. Fitzpatrick.
“Scott was intrigued by the fact that the work had not been performed with orchestra for almost 100 years. I said that I wished we could do it again while it was still fresh in our minds and Scott began to toy with the idea of using this piece as an opening to the Elijah concert.”
While both pieces have been reduced for this concert, Fitzpatrick said they work wonderfully well together. “Both are examples of romantic music, deep with emotion and soaring melodies,” he said. “The Mendelssohn is a perfect example of early romantic music that tells a story. With the Coleridge-Taylor, we see how that style developed and morphed. There is a commonality between the chorus in Elijah calling for Baal and the chorus in The Atonement calling to Christ to come down from the cross, both furious and futile requests.”
Tickets are $10 each and are available for purchase by contacting the church office of any of the three churches. Any proceeds from this concert will go into a special-purpose fund at the church that exists for the sole purpose of providing recitals and concerts to the general community.
“We anticipate that we will be able to offer more programs like this one in the future,” said Taylor.