Choral Masterworks Concert to be presented in April 2013


Holland Symphony Orchestra


Holland Symphony Orchestra Concert: Choral Masterworks


            The Holland Symphony Orchestra announces a very special pair of Classics III concerts: Choral Masterworks: Sergei Rachmaninoff’s The Bells and William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, a first-time collaboration with Hope College Choirs, Calvin College Choirs and the Holland Chorale – 250 voices, at DeWitt Auditorium at Zeeland East High School, 96th at Riley, on Saturday, April 20 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, April 21 at 3:30 pm. The concert also features soloists Soprano Jessica Dold, Tenor Daniel Favela, and Baritone Stephen Lancaster.  Calvin College Choirs are directed by Dr. Joel Navarro, Hope College Choirs are directed by Brad Richmond, and Meredith Bowen directs the Holland Chorale. 


Tickets are available in advance at Holland Area Arts Council, 150 E. 8th St, through the website, and at the door. Tickets are $20 adults, $17 seniors, $5 students K through college. Maestro Johannes Müller-Stosch and Concertmaster Amanda Dykhouse will host a pre-concert talk at 6:30 PM. April 20th and 2:30 PM on April 21st.  Concert sponsors are Haworth, David Roossien, the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts.  The artists’ sponsor is the David Roossien Classical Music Fund of the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area. In the first half of the program, Maestro Müller-Stosch will lead the Holland Symphony Orchestra and combined Hope, Calvin and Holland Chorale choirs and three soloists in Sergei Rachmaninoff’s choral symphony, The Bells.  After intermission, the choirs, orchestra and baritone Stephen Lancaster will perform William Walton’s oratorio Belshazzar’s Feast.


            Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff’s considered his choral symphony The Bells to be one of his personal favorite compositions. The four poems in the work, originally by Edgar Allen Poe and transcribed/ altered by Konstantin Balmont, describe aspects of life: birth, marriage, terror, and death.  In the first movement, Silver Bells, the composer gives choir and tenor Daniel Favela great contrast from upbeat and exciting music to sadness. In Wedding Bells, the second movement, soprano Jessica Dold represents the bride, and the dramatic vocal line sounds mournful and grim instead of celebratory, and we leave the movement with a feeling of discomfort. The fast tempo of the third movement Alarm Bells aids in evoking fear and terror in a loud extravaganza, creating a sense of chaos. In Funeral Bells, Rachmaninoff makes great use of the Dies Irae theme.  With all the instruments playing in their lowest registers and the striking baritone solo by Stephen Lancaster, Rachmaninoff creates a grim and dark atmosphere.  However, he ends the work with a warm and rich sound, marking redemption and the acceptance of death.


            English composer William Walton’s oratorio Belshazzar’s Feast depicts the story of King Belshazzar of Babylon and Jews who were held in captivity. The text is primarily from chapter V of the Book of Daniel, but includes text from the Books of Isaiah and Revelation. There are 10 movements in 3 main sections: 1) The prediction and coming to pass of Israel’s subjugation; 2) Belshazzar’s feast and the fall of Babylon; and 3) A song of praise to God.  In the first section, the chorus represents the Jews announcing the end of the Babylonian Empire in a defiant mood. The second section revolves around King Belshazzar’s banquet “for a thousand of his lords”.  The final section is dominated by a celebration, which indicates that the Empire has fallen.  The piece is concluded with Jews celebrating and rejoicing the end of the Babylonian Empire with song of praise to God.  In this Oratorio, the audience is taken on a journey of the 4000 exiled Jews.  We feel their sorrows, their anger and pain, but also their rejoicing moments of freedom.


            Jessica Dold studied music performance at Florida State University where she performed with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra.  She created apprentice programs with Sarasota Opera and Santa Fe Opera, and has performed with the Arbor Opera Theatre, Mercury Opera Rochester, Case Western Reserve University, Blue Lake Opera and West Michigan Concert Winds.  She has taken home top prize honors from the Nicholas Loren Competition and Orpheus Vocal Competition.


            Daniel Favela, tenor at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSU, Long Beach, started his singing career at Riverside City College and then transferred to Cal State Long Beach.  He has performed all over southern California in such venues as the Redlands Bowl, Ramona Bowl and Disney Concert Hall.  He was awarded the Foundation Scholarship from Cal State Long Beach, and a scholarship from the Dramatic Allied Arts Guild and the Fine Arts Affiliates.  He recently recorded a new Jazz Opera titled Cooperstown by composer Sasha Matson.


            Stephen Lancaster is a versatile artist appearing frequently in opera, concert, and recital, including  Eugene Opera, Opera Notre Dame, and Arbor Opera Theatre. In 2010, he debuted in Carnegie Hall as guest artist with the Notre Dame Concert Band.  Concert credits include Carmina Burana, Haydn’s Nelsonmesse, Vaughn Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, and Brahms’ Requiem, to name just a few. As a recitalist, he has performed in the United States, Canada, Taiwan and France. In 2012 he received an award to work in Paris with coach Antoine Palloc and was the winner of the Central Region Herald Stark award.  Stephen began his musical studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and has degrees in vocal performance from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Michigan.


            The audience is invited to a reception following the concert to greet all the musicians.




See full bios on Johannes Müller-Stosch, Jessica Dold, Daniel Favela, and Stephen Lancaster on the website at for more information. Pictures available.


Please note concert time (7:30 PM on 4/20 and 3:30 PM on 4/21) and pre-concert talks at 6:30 and 2:30 PM.


Contacts:   Kay Walvoord, president & CEO 616.796-6780 off. or 616.405.5198 cell or 616.392.3688 h


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