Chorus looking to inspire and impress

The Akron Symphony Chorus is going to be very busy over the next six months.

After making a memorable, if invisible, season debut during The Planets in October, the chorus will make its full debut on Nov. 18 with the Akron Symphony Orchestra. The performance will kick off a season that will see the chorus performing with the orchestra during six concerts.

It may be a lot of work, but Marie Bucoy-Calavan said that the 85-member chorus is up to the challenge.

“Holding ourselves to high standards and pushing ourselves to grow musically and never settle is something that I have tried to instill in the chorus,” said Bucoy-Calavan, who is in her first season as chorus director. “My mantra is to inspire and impress, which is really what fosters people to take part in this type of music.

“Our chorus is made up of passionate people who liken their identity to performing the masterworks. We can learn a lot from people who work hard to master their craft, and it is inspiring to work with them.”

During the Nov. 18 concert, the chorus will perform on Dett’s The Chariot Jubilee and on the world premiere of There’s a Stirrin’ in the Water, which was co-composed by the Rev. Charles Myricks Jr. and Jesse Ayers.

“People come to hear a chorus to engage with the music through their faces,” Bucoy-Calavan said. “I hope that we are visually striking to the audience as this performance captures the human spirit. The chorus has really embraced the concept of working together, which not only raises the mood of the ensemble but also feeds into the sense of precision that an orchestral chorus needs to be successful.”

The addition of a chorus to the orchestra can raise the performance to a different level, according to Bucoy-Calavan.

“Even Beethoven made it clear that combining music and voices adds an element of humanism to a performance,” she said. “The color of adding voices to an orchestra is an important element that helps to create a unique experience.

“This is a large season for the chorus with the holiday concert, Beethoven’s Ninth and Mendelssohn’s Elijah,” she said. “Musically it will be a challenge, but we hold ourselves to a high standard not only because we should, but because the music deserves it.”

Take a spiritual journey to the new world when the Akron Symphony Orchestra presents From the New World: Legacy of the Spirituals on Friday, Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. at E.J. Thomas Hall. Single tickets start at $20 and are available online or by calling the symphony box office at 330.535.8131.

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