CU Concert Chorus will be Performing ‘Bluegrass Mass’ Dec. 8

By Rachel Crenshaw, student news writer

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky.—“There are places in this piece where I can imagine voices echoing across mountains,” said Dr. Frieda Gebert, director of Campbellsville University’s Concert Chorus and associate professor of music, as she described the music CU’s Concert Chorus will be performing on Monday, Dec. 8, in The Gheens Recital Hall at 8 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

The Concert Chorus will be presenting the Kentucky premier of “The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass,” composed by Carol Barnett, and “Old American Songs,” by Aaron Copland. The “Bluegrass Mass” is a composed piece of choral music that combines the classical form of the mass and the genre of bluegrass music.

Barnett is from the frozen northland of Minnesota; however, she spent her summers in the heart of the south with her grandparents. It was those summers spent listening to the sounds of banjos and fiddles that persuaded Barnett to combine two of her favorite types of music: classical choral and bluegrass. The result is a tribute to the haunting melodies and harmonies of the Appalachian Mountains.

“Many parts of the work are sung with no accompaniment at all, just one voice singing what could be an old hymn,” Gebert said.

“Others parts sound like an old-fashioned barn dance. I decided to do this work around Christmas because the text was so appropriate to the season. The recurring theme is that God loved the world so much, he sent his son to save us. Isn’t that the real meaning of Christmas?”

The mass is accompanied by several traditional instruments: banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar and bass. A combination of local talent and CU students was constructed to form the band that will be accompanying Concert Chorus in their performance.

Tommy Davenport, a well-known musician to many bluegrass music fans around the area, will be playing the banjo. In addition, Nicholas Rakes of Campbellsville, Ky., will be playing the mandolin.

Rakes said he has been playing the mandolin for 10 years and is very excited about the chance to perform with Concert Chorus.

The ensemble is made up of CU students and singers from Campbellsville and nearby communities. The ensemble rehearses on Monday evenings from 6 to 8 o’clock. Next semester the choir will be presenting two traditional works by Haydn and Schubert. In addition, plans are being made to present Handel’s “Messiah” in the fall of 2009.

Campbellsville University students participating in the Concert Chorus include: Jenna Bender of Campbellsville; Phillip Brann of Robards, Ky.; Allen Brooks of Bardstown, Ky.; Emily Bryant of Louisville, Ky.; Cristina Caldas of Barbacena, Brazil; Seongho Choi of Busan, Korea;

Jared Clark of Versailles, Ky.; Rachel Crenshaw of Shepherdsville, Ky.; Heather Dobbs of Science Hill, Ky.; Carmen Drake of Sonora, Ky.; Dana Eberhard of Wilmore, Ky.; Ashleigh Frey of Bardstown; Joe Gupton of Campbellsville; Melody Hall of Rockfield, Ky.; Brittany Hall of Lawrenceburg, Ky.; Lucas Harris of Stanford, Ky.;

Jessica Harris of Louisville; Cassie Haste of Bethelridge, Ky.; Marissa Hazard of Campbellsville; Ah-Hyun Im of Ul-San, Korea; Seth Johnson of Leitchfield, Ky.; Erin Johnson of Russellville, Ky.; Lindsey Kleyer of Simpsonville, Ky.; Morghan Lanham of Lebanon Junction, Ky.; MaryGrace Lee of Ponchatoula, La.;

Ya-Ying (Amy) Lin of Keelung City, Taiwan; Stephen Mann of Campbellsville; Megan Massey of Science Hill; Tae Eun Moon of Busan, Korea; Chase Moore of Ferguson, Ky.; Rachel Morrison of Crestwood, Ky.; Josh Myers of Annville, Ky.; E.J. Pavy of Campbellsville; Shawn Richardson of Campbellsville; Jenny Roy of Russell Springs, Ky.;

Bridgette McIlwaine of Nicholasville, Ky.; Aubrey Skutt of Columbia, Ky.; Sarah Smith of Brandenburg, Ky.; Anna Troth of Frankfort, Ky.; Yu-Shin (Sindy) Tseng of Taichung City, Taiwan; Kristina Wallace of Hopkinsville, Ky.; Shin-Yuh Wang of Taoyuan, Taiwan; Clint Warf of Greensburg, Ky.; and Jesse West of Campbellsville.

Community members of the Concert Chorus include: Kathy and Jay Shewmaker of Harrodsburg, Ky.; Bob and Celia McDonald of Hodgenville, Ky.; and Betty Cravens of Campbellsville.

Gebert said any interested singers are welcome to join the group with no audition necessary. Contact (270) 789-5237 for additional information.

Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,601 students who represent 93 Kentucky counties, 27 states and 31 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2009 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South for the second consecutive year. CU has been ranked 16 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges®. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his tenth year as president.

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