The Ithaca College Choir, conducted by Lawrence Doebler, will perform the world premiere of Dan Welcher's Leaves of Grass at the 25th Choral Composition Contest and Festival on Saturday, November 13, at 7:00 p.m. in Ford Hall of theWhalen Center.
The free event will also feature six high school choirs, each performing pieces chosen as finalists in a national competition of newly composed works. The evening's performance will conclude with the Ithaca College Choral Union joining the high school choirs in singing Handel's Hallelujah Chorus.
Designed to encourage the creation and performance of new choral music, the festival will give members of the high school choirs the opportunity to attend rehearsals and workshops throughout the day. Each choir will be coached by the composer of the piece it will perform. Participating choirs represent high schools from Ithaca, Vestal, Setauket and Camillus, New York; Westborough, Massachusetts; and Spartanburg, South Carolina. The competition is sponsored by the Ithaca College School of Music and the Theodore Presser Company.
Adapted by Welcher from the Walt Whitman poem, Leaves of Grass is described by Doebler as "a beautifully descriptive choral setting of Whitman's evocative words." Welcher has been gradually creating a body of compositions in almost every imaginable genre including opera, concerto, symphony, vocal literature, piano solos, and various kinds of chamber music. With over 80 works to his credit, Welcher is one of the most frequently played composers of his generation. He teaches composition in the School of Music of the University of Texas at Austin, and serves as director of the New Music Ensemble.
Contributed by Erik Kibelsbeck