The West Virginia Wesleyan College choirs will present their annual Spring Choral Concert on both Saturday, April 21 at 7 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Clarksburg and on Sunday, April 22 at 4 p.m. in Wesley Chapel on the Buckhannon campus. Both events are free and open to the public.
Conducted by Dr. Larry Parsons, Hon. ’12, former professor of music and dean of the College Emeritus, the Saturday concert will open with a community musical celebrating of the 50th anniversary of the installation of the Casavant Freres, Ltd. Pipe organ at First UMC. The first portion of the concert will feature three organists of the Monongahela Chapter of the American Guild of Organists performing organ solo works by J.S. Bach, Samuel Barber, Louis-Nicolas Clérambault, Thomas Donahue, and George Thalben-Ball. After a brief intermission, conductor Dr. Parsons and organist Dr. Lillian Long will lead a combined choir from Wesleyan, under the direction of Dr. R. Daniel Hughes, director of choral activities and associate professor at WVWC; Alderson Broaddus University, under the direction of Lewis R. Hall, assistant professor of music, and choirs of First United Methodist churches of Clarksburg and Bridgeport, directed by Don Gardner ’77, 2017 WVWC Alumni Service Award recipient, and Sarah Carr-Parsons ’82, respectively, in a performance of the Requiem, Op. 48 by Gabriel Fauré.
The Sunday performance will feature the same choirs, including members of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, for a full choral-orchestral performance of the Requiem, directed by Dr. Hughes. This concert will also include a varied collection of choral works dedicated to the memory of Tommy Smart, Dr. Hughes’ father-in-law, and a movement of Bach’s Bradenburg Concerto No. 6 to honor Anne Hamilton, former WVWC strings teacher.
The combined concert came about after Dr. Hughes and a cohort including Dr. Parsons, Gardner, and Brett Miller ’06, organist and WVWC’s director of library services, from First UMC Clarksburg realized each organization wanted to perform the same piece.
“I planned on doing Fauré’s Requiem at Wesleyan this spring, in large part due to the fact that I wanted to honor the passing of two people: Anne Hamilton, who taught strings at Wesleyan for many years and played several concerts as violinist with both Larry Parsons and I, and Tom Smart, my father-in-law,” stated Dr. Hughes. “Both passed in June 2017.”
The creative collaboration came together quickly.
“We all decided that working together would be a fantastic undertaking, and to that end, organized two different performances, both featuring the entire Requiem as the heart of the program,” continued Dr. Hughes.
Working with area choirs is something in which Dr. Hughes sees of value, especially to musicians.
“Collaboration is one of the foundational principals of all we do as musicians, and it is something we at Wesleyan do constantly and do well,” he said. “We have been thrilled to welcome the singers from Alderson Broaddus University for the past months and look forward to the work we will do with area churches and orchestral musicians this weekend.”
The First United Methodist Church of Clarksburg is located at 170 W. Pike Street, Clarksburg, WV 26301. For additional cultural events at Wesleyan, please visit www.wvwc.edu.