CHRISTMAS AT LORETTO
Beautiful New Music for the Season
Featuring the world premiere of new works by American composers William Averitt and Zae Munn along with other new works for the season and familiar carols in new arrangements
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Church of Our Lady of Loretto
Saint Mary’s College, South Bend, IN
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Peace Lutheran Church
06321 Blue Star Memorial Highway
South Haven, MI 49090
This annual holiday concert always draws a large crowd of Northwest Indiana residents. For this year’s concert we have commissioned a new work from award-winning American composer William Averitt. His new piece, entitled Lullaby Beneath the Storm, will be a 3-movement setting of poems by Kansas City based poet and conductor Robert Bode for choir and string quartet. The concert will also include the premiere of a new work by South Bend composer Zae Munn entitled Hushed Haiku, and other new works for the season. The concert will close, as usual, with our traditional, candlelit “Silent Night.”
William Averitt (b. 1948) is the composer of numerous works which have received performances throughout the United States and in Western Europe, Russia and Asia. He has received several composer fellowships, grants and commissions from a wide variety of sources such as the National Endowment for the Arts (twice), VMTA/MTNA (six times), Meet the Composer and the Atlanta Chamber Players. Recent commissions have been completed for the University of Missouri at Columbia (Black Pierrot, premiere in 2017), Texas Lutheran University (Where Dreams Fly, premiered in 2016 and The Deepness of the Blue, From Dreams and Scenes, premiered in 2012), Choral Arts of Seattle (Traveling Home, premiered in 2011 and The Dream Keeper, premiered in 2009), VMTA (The Memory of Shadows, premiered in 2007), organist Dudley Oakes (The Seventh Seal, premiered at the Washington National Cathedral in 2006), the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh (Lacrymae, premiered in 2003), Opus 3 Trio of Washington, DC (Harmonia, premiered in 2001) and Murray State University Concert Choir and Shenandoah Conservatory Chamber Choir (both for a cappella Latin motets for Spring 2001 tours of Italy). Nocturne, a song cycle for soprano and orchestra commissioned by the Maryland Symphony Orchestra for their 20th Anniversary season, was premiered in 2002. Other commissions have included works for Currents (a contemporary music ensemble in Richmond, VA), the Shippensburg (PA) Summer Music Festival, the Paducah (KY) Symphony Orchestra, the First Presbyterian Church of Columbia, SC (for their bicentennial celebrations), Sonus Ensemble of Washington, DC, the Youth Orchestras of Prince William (VA), former Shenandoah Conservatory Dance Division colleague Elizabeth Bergmann (through a Virginia Commission for the Arts grant), Shenandoah University and Winchester (VA) Musica Viva.
Other scores include a two-hour St. Matthew Passion for soloists, two choruses and orchestra co-commissioned by eleven southeastern university choral departments and first premiered on Good Friday 2000 in Columbia, SC under the direction of Larry Wyatt. This work was revised in 2009 performed in its new version in Columbia SC and at the Southern Division-ACDA Conference in Memphis in 2010.
In 1989, Averitt completed a major commission from the Hans Kindler Foundation of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC for a new work that was premiered there by the Verdehr Trio. Tripartita for violin, clarinet and piano has been taken into the Trio’s active repertoire, performed on tours in several cities including New York and Seoul, and released on compact disc by Crystal Records; the score is published by Subito. The Verdehrs, in conjunction with the Michigan State University Wind Symphony, commissioned a Triple Concerto with winds which was premiered at Michigan State University in 1996. In recent seasons, Tripartita has received numerous additional performances and appeared in the active repertoire of the Helios Trio of the Netherlands, among others.
Mr. Averitt’s 1991 score Afro-American Fragments (Langston Hughes) for SATB, soprano and piano 4-hands was the winning work of the 1992 Roger Wagner Center for Choral Studies Choral Composition Competition. This score has been performed by a number of professional choruses including Conspirare, the Washington Singers (Paul Hill), the Desert Chorale, the New Texas Festival, the Air Force Singing Sergeants, Kantorei (Denver, CO), Winchester Musica Viva and by numerous university choruses throughout the country. In the Spring 1996, Afro-American Fragments was the featured work performed by the Connecticut High School All-state Chorus. In 2004, Conspirare released three movements of Afro-American Fragments as part of their acclaimed CD . . . through the green fuse . . . More recently, Mr. Averitt has written two similarly scored cycles on Langston Hughes poetry: The Dream Keeper (Choral Arts of Seattle, premiered in 2009 and included on their award-winning CD Mornings Like This) and The Deepness of the Blue (Texas Lutheran University, premiered in 2012). The Deepness of the Blue has enjoyed a good performance history, including at the 2015 ACDA National Convention (Choral Arts Northwest) and the 2016 ACDA Central Division Conference (Evansville University Choir). All three cycles were recorded by the UMKC Conservatory Singers and released as The Deepness of the Blue on MSR.
Learn more, visit the artists’ website.
William Averitt’s Lullaby Beneath the Storm is a setting of three recent poems by the American poet and conductor Robert Bode, reflecting familiar Christmas themes in new and elegant verse. The opening poem (“Sister of the Wind”) is dramatic, with pleas for comfort amidst a raging storm. The brief second poem (“The Angel Gabriel to Mary”) is a retelling of the annunciation, set musically as a dance of quiet joy, culminating in the phrase “Glory be to God!” The concluding “Bethlehem” presents the deeply hushed scene of the manger, with the Holy Family surrounded by gentle animals and all enclosed by a “night of stars, beckoning and beautiful.”
Zae Munn is Professor of Music at Saint Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana where she teaches theory, composition, digital media in music, and orchestration/arranging. She is the the Director and Resident Composer of the Summer Composition Intensive at Saint Mary’s College. She has also taught at Interlochen Arts Camp, Bowdoin College, Transylvania University, and Lehigh University. Her DMA and MM degrees in composition are from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and her BM in composition is from Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University. Born in 1953, Munn’s early musical training was as a cellist, with additional studies in piano, voice, and conducting.
Her works are published by Arsis Press, Balquhidder Music, Earthsongs, Frank E. Warren Music, HoneyRock, JOMAR Press, Tempo Press, and Yelton Rhodes Music. Recordings are available from Navona Records, Capstone Records, Centaur Records, and a number of independent labels.
Learn more, visit the artists’ website
Hushed Haiku, written for the South Bend Chamber Singers and completed in 2017, is a musical setting of five unpublished haiku by Karen Hesse, an American author of historically based books for young adults. As with traditional haiku, Hesse’s five evoke images of the natural world, and these five have a particular focus on the season of winter.
Haiku syllabic structure requires five syllables in the first and third lines of each three-line haiku, and the number five figures prominently throughout Hushed Haiku—five sections, five-part chorus, 5/8 and 5/4 meters in alternating sections, and a five-word phrase, built of one significant word from each of the five haiku, provides the text for a unifying musical ostinato.
In her choral and vocal works, Munn typically sets texts by living writers, including Peg Lauber, Marilyn Taylor, and Karen Hesse. One of Hesse’s young adult novels, Witness, was the basis of the libretto for Zae’s 2006 full-length opera of the same name and her very short opera, Night of Blue Magic, sets 22 haiku by Hesse.