It’s been a season of varied concerts for the Choral Arts Ensemble, but the finale of the 30th anniversary season will be a return to basics.
“The meat and potatoes of Choral Arts Ensemble is a cappella singing,” said Rick Kvam, CAE founder and director. “That’s what the singers love and what we do best.”
The concert May 8 at Assisi Heights will feature audience and singer favorites, as well as two newly commissioned pieces. There are several “chestnuts,” as Kvam called them, and an appearance by a CAE alumni choir.
About those favorites: It turns out audiences want to hear, and singers want to perform that a cappella singing Kvam mentioned.
The favorites selected, he said, “were all sort of the same — a cappella and slower moving.” Included in the concert are those chestnuts, “Danny Boy” and “Shenandoah,” Gregorian chant, selections by Bach and Mozart, and the two commissions.
One is by Rene Clausen. “He knows how to write for choir so well,” Kvam said.
The other is by relative newcomer Jake Runestad, of Minneapolis, a Winona State University graduate. “He’s a hot ticket, so we were fortunate to get him to write a work for our 30th,” Kvam said. “He writes beautifully for voice.”
Runestad came to Rochester April 18 to work with the choir in developing his piece of music.
The season finale was originally scheduled to be presented two nights. But, said Kvam, “we found out Midori was booked with the (Rochester Symphony) orchestra our second night, and we thought our audiences overlap, and what an great opportunity for our community. It got me to thinking that, for a season-ending gala, it’s kind of nice to do it once.”
The ensemble, though, has a program of music that has been rehearsed and is ready to be performed more than once. So, outreach performances have been scheduled May 10 at Charter House, and May 12 at Gift of Life, Hope Lodge and the Boys and Girls Club.
That will bring to a close the CAE’s 30th anniversary season, which included a singers’ showcase, a performance with the Great River Shakespeare Festival, and Bach’s monumental Mass in B minor. “It’s been a great season,” Kvam said. “I thought it was terrific.”