Grinnell Singers to perform 'In Converse with the Stars'

The Grinnell Singers will present “In Converse with the Stars,” a concert of choral music spanning five centuries, at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29 in Sebring Lewis Hall in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St., Grinnell.

While the event is free and open to the public, donations will be accepted for Immigration Allies of Marshalltown, an organization that works to meet the needs of immigrant communities in this region of Iowa.

The concert will feature Claudio Monteverdi’s “Sfogava con le stele,” which translate to “In Converse with the Stars,” in which a man sick with love gives vent to his pain beneath the night sky, paired with Johannes Brahms’s “O schöne Nacht,” translated to “O beautiful night,” which, like the Monteverdi, combines the two themes of star gazing and an outpouring of love.

The Grinnell Singers will also perform “To the Hands” by Caroline Shaw, a powerful work that focuses on America’s promise of welcome as inscribed at the Statue of Liberty and the reality of the current refugee crisis and issues surrounding immigration. In addition, the ensemble will perform portions of John Rommereim’s “Convivencia,” a multi-movement work for choir, string quartet, and harp that explores points of connection in sacred love poetry from Christian, Jewish, and Islamic traditions. Rommereim is the Blanche Johnson professor of music at Grinnell College and conducts the Grinnell Singers.

The concert will also include a selection from Rachmaninov’s “All-Night Vigil,” an evocative setting of a Pushkin poem by the 20th-century Russian composer, Gyorgii Sviridov, a folk song setting by Shawn Kirchner, a colorful work by Finnish composer Einojunahi Rautavaara and Rommereim’s “Amara – Breath of Grace” with Mark Laver, assistant professor of music, on the jazz saxophone.

The Grinnell Singers are an ensemble of students who perform music from an extremely wide variety of traditions and locales — from Brahms to Bluegrass, from Renaissance England to 21st century New York. They work hard to craft the very best musical performances together, and as they pursue these high ideals, they are committed to fostering an environment that is welcoming and supportive for each and every member. In addition to their musical work, the ensemble regularly contributes to the community in the form of volunteer projects.

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