Staples Area Men’s Chorus debuts a new tradition

Practicing for the performance of a major work of Antonio Vivaldi are some of the members of the Staples-Motley Chamber Orchestra (from left): John Lund, Rebecca Paskewitz and Samantha Weyer. These students will perform as part of a four-part concert series, Dec. 14 - 15, in Wadena, Pillager, Long Prairie and Staples.

Practicing for the performance of a major work of Antonio Vivaldi are some of the members of the Staples-Motley Chamber Orchestra (from left): John Lund, Rebecca Paskewitz and Samantha Weyer. These students will perform as part of a four-part concert series, Dec. 14 – 15, in Wadena, Pillager, Long Prairie and Staples.

The Staples Area Men’s Chorus (SAMC) is working in collaboration with seven other area music groups hopes to start a tradition this year. SAMC will debut its first collaborative community performance involving high school and community musical groups from other area cities.

This Christmas collaboration features the famous musical work of Antonio Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” kicking off the Christmas season with four local concerts held Saturday, Dec. 14 and Sunday, Dec. 15.

The primary focus of this event is to merge the talents of these local groups together to provide everyone an opportunity to participate and experience Vivaldi’s Gloria firsthand, with a mass chorus and full orchestra accompaniment.

SAMC director Steve Hoemberg connected with the Wadena, Pillager, and Long Prairie-Grey Eagle directors and musicians and received “overwhelming support for what will be a community Christmas celebration for the local audiences that will give them the experience of seeing a major musical work without having to drive to the Twin Cities to see it,” he said.

A combined orchestral and choral group will feature approximately 200 singers and 50 orchestra members. The groups involved are the Long Prairie Chamber Orchestra, Staples Motley High School Chamber Orchestra, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle High School Choir, Pillager High School Choir, Wadena-Deer Creek High School Choir, SAMC, Staples Area Women’s Chorus (SAWC) and Staples Motley High School Choir.

“Four separate concerts will each have unique features so that no concert will be exactly alike,” said Hoemberg.

The first concert will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Wadena Memorial Auditorium and will feature selections from the hosting Wadena-Deer Creek High School Choir under the direction of Mike Ortmann. The SAWC, under the direction of Rob Freelove and the Staples Area Men’s Chorus, directed by Hoemberg, will also provide a sampling of music. The orchestras and all six choirs will then join together to perform Vivaldi’s Gloria.

The musicians will travel to Pillager for their second performance starting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. Pillager High School will host the musicians featuring the Pillager High School Choir, directed by Rob Freelove, followed again by SAWC and SAMC

Michael Rohr originally from Staples, commutes from Osakis weekly to choir practice because, “You don’t get a lot of chances to sing works like this in a lot of community groups,” he said.

Rohr himself is a musician and teaches elementary music in the Osakis school district and sees the importance of working with the high school students to let them have the opportunity to share in a performance of a lifetime.

On Sunday, Dec. 15, the third performance will be at 2 p.m. at the Long Prairie-Grey Eagle High School Auditorium. Another unique concert will be performed featuring the hosting Long Prairie-Grey Eagle High School Choir under the direction of Erik Espe and the Long Prairie Chamber Orchestra, directed by Adam Hultberg.

“These matinee performances are great for families and church-goers who, after church and lunch, want an enjoyable afternoon of music,” said Hoemberg. “Then again, we might also find some of the audience members from Saturday who wanted an encore performance.”

At SAMC rehearsal recently, 77-year-old Jim Downes from Long Prairie, said, “I love this choir and I am glad to see young kids are joining.”

The fourth and final performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria will be Sunday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 p.m. at Staples-Motley High School Centennial Auditorium. As with the other performances, the local high school choir will be featured as will the Staples-Motley Chamber Orchestra, directed by John Koopmann.

Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria was written in Latin and will be performed in its original language.

Tickets are available at the following area businesses and at the doors prior to the performances: An Open Book, Wadena, (218) 632-2665; The Shante, Pillager, (218) 746-4412; Sellnow Law Office, Long Prairie, (218) 732-1919; and Nelson Insurance Agency, Staples, (218) 895-5046.

For information (including any changes due to inclement weather) visit: www.staplesmen.org and www.theLPCO.org.

 

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