When I found out several months ago that I would be at Blue Lake for the summer with time to spare in between opera performance I sent an email to Dr. Jerry Blackstone (double Grammy© award winner, Director of Choral Activities / Chair of the Conducting Department at U of M and all around fabulous musician) to see if there were any solo opportunities with the University Musical Society Summer Sings he organizes. I've had the pleasure to work with them two previous summers and was thrilled to get the opportunity to perform the baritone solo in Maurice Durufle's Requiem this year.
Essentially, the program is a community "sing-along" in which one pays $5 to rent a score for the evening and joins other local choral buffs / music lovers to comprise a chorus for whichever oratorio is being presented. The first half of the evening is spent rehearsing the piece and the second half is a full, non-stop performance. The soloists are hired in advance and luckily for me (and the audience) my dear friend Kristin Eder was singing the mezzo-soprano solo and we were conducted by another friend from my U of M days, Eugene Rogers!
Eugene, rehearsing the choir before the performance!
Post-performance Team Durufle!: (L to R) Jean Schneider, piano; Kristin, Joseph, Eugene and Dr. Blackstone
And, even though I've already posted it before, I can't help but share this photo I took with Dr. Blackstone's two glorious Grammy's at one of his choir Christmas parties from years past. You know… just 'cause :)
Darn you, horrific cell phone camera from 5 years ago and your awful picture quality!!
But enough chatting about the Requiem—let's end with some actual music, shall we? Here's the glorious mezzo-soprano aria, "Pie Jesu," as performed by Sarah Connolly, Robert Cohen (cello), Jeremy Filsell (organ) and conducted by Jeremy Backhouse.
Artist: Boublil and Schonberg / Album: Les Miserables