“Good choral singers are good at languages,” said Rick Kvam, Choral Arts Ensemble director.
And Jette, meanwhile, is a good singer of everything from opera and choral piece to jazz and light pop. An Iowa native who has lived and performed in the Twin Cities for decades, Jette will sing with the Choral Arts Ensemble as well as a soloist on a set of songs arranged just for her.
That solo set — songs of Stephen Foster — will be in English, but before that, the audience will have heard German, Latin and Hebrew in this concert of a variety of selections.
The German will come with Mendelssohn’s “Hor, mein Bitten,” more widely known in English as “O for the Wings of a Dove.” Jette will solo, accompanied by Erik Floan on organ. “It has a very lyric, beautiful melody,” Kvam said.
Then comes Mozart’s Vespers, in Latin, again with Jette, this time as part of a quartet that steps forward. The piece is not often performed, in part because it is quite difficult. “There’s a lot of text,” Kvam said. “It’s a challenge for the choir to chew through all that Latin.”
The Vespers, though, does contain what is expected to be on of the signature sections of the concert.
“If I were an audience member, I would be most excited to hear Maria on ‘Laudate Dominum’,” from that piece, Kvam said. “It just unfurls and soars. That will be a lovely moment.”
After intermission, the choir will perform Eric Whitacre’s “Five Hebrew Love Songs,” which are based on poems written by the composer’s then-girlfiend (now wife), singer Hila Plitmann.
They are performed, of course, in Hebrew.
As for the Stephen Foster tunes by Jette, they are arranged for soprano and violin by Nancy Grundahl. Jette has recorded them, including “I Dream of Jennie,” “Ring the Banjo,” “Beautiful Dreamer” and “Some Folk Do,” for a new CD.
Chorale Arts Ensemble regulars should note these concerts are at Christ United Methodist Church instead of at the choir’s regular home at Assisi Heights. It’s a return to beginnings at Christ United Methodist for the ensemble. “Our very first concert was there in 1985,” Kvam said.
What: Choral Arts Ensemble with soprano Maria Jette
When: 7:30 p.m. March 19, 4 p.m. March 20
Where: Christ United Methodist Church, 400 Fifth Ave. SW, Rochester
Tickets: $28 and $17 for adults, $5 for students, available at 507-252-8427 and choralartsensemble.org.