Tonight the Greenvile Chorale joins forces with the Greenville Symphony for a concert at the Peace Center for the Performing Arts entitled “A Salute to American Music.” With a historic election day just around the corner, the music is meant to celebrate all that is America.
The concert begins with Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man.” This is always a very stirring piece, and I got cold chills listening to it during rehearsal this morning. That’s followed by one of my least favorite choral pieces, “Shenandoah.” But, the Chorale does a great job with it, and I’m sure the audience will love it.
The Chorale then divides and conquers, with the women singing “Simple Gifts” and a temperance song called “God’s Bottles”. The men follow with a campaign song from the Grover Cleveland era called “The Dodger”, and follow that up with the barbershop quartet arrangement of “Goodbye, My Coney Island Babe.” The sections rejoin for two spirituals – “Bound for the Promised Land” and “Every Time I Feel the Spirit.”
The meat of the concert is Randall Thompson’s “Testament of Freedom.” This four-movement work is based on the writings of Thomas Jefferson.
The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same. The hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.
The piece is resolute in nature, and features recitative declamations as well as soaring choral lines.
The concert is rounded out a medley from Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess”, Bernstein’s “Make Our Garden Grow” from Candide, and one final copland – “The Promise Living.” We wrap things up with Berlin’s “God Bless America” arranged for chorus and orchestra.
It’s a concert with enough variety that it should appeal to just about any audience.