Rogue Valley Chorale commissions new music

The new composition "To Musick" will premiere this weekend during the Rogue Valley Chorale's final concerts of its 2010-2011 season.

It's the first time the chorale has commissioned music. The piece, composed by David N. Childs, will make its debut at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 7, and again at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 8, at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford.

"It's an exhilarating piece," says Lynn Sjolund, director of the chorale. "The combination of text, music and interesting parts for piano and cello add up to a fine piece of music. I think this piece will be widely performed."

The concerts also will include music from the chorale's upcoming tour through England and Wales, including American spirituals, such as "Were You There?" by H.T. Burliegh, and English anthems, such as "Almighty and Everlasting God" by Orlando Gibbons and "Ave Verum Corpus" by William Bird.

"To Musick" is written with a cello obligato to be performed by Michal Palzewicz as the concerts' featured soloist. In the past, Palzewicz performed the "St. Matthew Passion," a composition from the "Passions" written by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1727 for solo voices, double choir and double orchestra with the chorale.

Childs borrowed the text for "To Musick" from a work of the same title by 17th-century English poet Robert Herrick.

Childs was born in 1969 in Nelson, New Zealand. He holds a bachelor's degree in composition and musicology from Canterbury University at Christchurch, New Zealand, a master's of music in conducting from Florida State University at Tallahassee and a doctorate of musical arts from Louisiana State University.

He works for Highland Park United Methodist Church in Texas as a choir conductor. He's also served as a master class conductor at the Oregon Bach Festival.

Childs' compositions frequently appear at regional and national conventions. He's received commissions from organizations in Japan, New Zealand and South Africa, with more than 70 choral works in print.

Sixty-eight singers from Rogue Valley Chorale will leave June 23 for a two-week tour of Great Britain. The chorus will perform at St. Mark's Church in Cheltenham, Canterbury Cathedral in Kent and York Minster in York.

"We've selected works, such as a Russian piece by Rachmaninoff and a mass by Spanish composer Tomas Louis Vittoria, for our upcoming shows and tour," says Sjolund. "The pieces are designed to be sung in cathedrals."

Tickets for the chorale's shows at the Craterian cost $20, $5 for students, and are available at the Craterian box office, 16 S. Bartlett St., Medford; at or by calling 541-779-3000.

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