Burlington Choral Society sings ‘St. John Passion’

Courtesy photo
The Burlington Choral Society will have two concert performances at College Street Congregational Church on April 13 and 14.

In two performances of its spring concert, the Burlington Choral Society presents music for Lent and Easter that moves from tragic to festive.

On Saturday, April 13, at 7:30 p.m. at College Street Congregational Church in Burlington and on Sunday, April 14, at 4 p.m. at the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, the Burlington Choral Society features English composer Bob Chilcott’s new setting of the “St. John Passion.” It spans an enormous expressive range in telling the story of Christ’s suffering and crucifixion, according to St. John’s gospel. This will be its first Vermont performance.

The chorus plays the crowd with its raucous outbursts in the “Passion” narrative, but its main role is singing the simple, melodic meditations and lyrical hymns that Chilcott weaves into the story.

The story continues with Renaissance composer John Taverner’s ethereal “Dum Transisset Sabbatum,” which describes sunrise on the Sunday after the Crucifixion. The concert ends with Pietro Mascagni’s exultant Easter hymn from his opera Cavalleria “Rusticana.”

Artistic director Richard Riley leads the chorus and guest artists tenor Adam Hall (as John the Evangelist), bass-baritone Matt Sullivan (Jesus), baritone David Neiweem (Pontius Pilate) and soprano Chayah Lichtig. Jenny Bower performs on the organ, with Elizabeth Reid, viola; Perri Morris, cello; Jason Whitcomb and Don Wheater, trumpet; Joy Worland, horn; Lori Salimando-Porter, trombone; and William Keck, tuba.

“We’re calling this concert ‘Sunset, Sunrise’ because we’ll take our audience on a dramatic musical passage from darkness to light,” Riley said.

Tickets are available at the FlynnTix Box Office, www.flynntix.org and (802) 86-FLYNN.

Prices are $25 for adults and $20 for students.

More information is at www.bcsvermont.org

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