Bluefield University’s ‘Variations’ Chamber Singers will be performing two concerts entitled “Sing all ye Lands, the Praises of God.” The first concert will be presented at Manly Memorial Baptist Church in Lexington on Saturday, March 2, 2019, at 7 p.m. and the second concert will be presented at the Church of St. Peter & St. Paul in Roanoke on Sunday, March 3, 2019, at 2:30 p.m. All are welcome and encouraged to attend the concerts. The concerts are both free, but a free-will offering will be accepted.
The concerts at Manly Memorial Baptist Church and at the Church of St. Peter & St. Paul are fundraising events for their upcoming European choir tour, which will take place July 2-11, 2019 and will feature songs alluding to Psalm 66:1-2.
While on tour across Europe this summer, ‘Variations’ Chamber Singers will be performing pieces such as Dennis Allen’s rhythmic arrangement of “A Mighty Fortress” and “Praise His Holy Name,” a gospel selection by Keith Hampton.
‘Variations’ will also be performing Mozart, Ešenvalds, and Wilberg, along with selections chosen by Janos Szifra, the Kapellmeister of Salzburg Cathedral, and Stan Engebretsen of the United States.
Bluefield University ‘Variations’ will also be performing a number of American spirituals and folk-songs. “European audiences already know their own composers, so why try to sing music they can sing?” said Dr. John Moir, Bluefield University director of choirs and voice.
Included in the works are “Now Let Me Fly,” “Every Time I Feel the Spirit,” “Hark, I Hear The Harps Eternal” by Robert Shaw, and “Lux Aurumque” by Eric Whitacre. Among those, “Built on a Rock,” written by Bluefield resident Paul Royer, will be a première.
Dr. John Moir, director of choirs and voice, started at Bluefield University three years ago. “Part of a choral conductor’s job, I feel, is to find repertoire that both challenges the choir, but also teaches them—music from different eras, compositional schools, and style, that sort of thing,” said Moir.
“I have seen the choirs at BU grow and develop… and I look forward to our first tour in more than a decade. Both the students and the community adults [in MasterWorks] are improving their vocal sound and musicianship,” said Moir. “It certainly is the hand of God on our work together,” added Moir.
The ‘Variations’ Chamber Singers are looking to do more outreach, recruiting, and performing during March.