InConcert Sierra presents the Sierra Master Chorale and Orchestra’s performance of ’The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace’
Special to Prospector
Not unlike any other performing arts organization, the executive team and board of directors at InConcert Sierra have spent most of the past year working to keep the nonprofit afloat while using available technology to offer encore performances to patrons.
Artistic Director Ken Hardin said InConcert Sierra is doing well, under the circumstances, in part due to the exceptional planning of their board, who managed their funds responsibly.
“Like everybody else we have better days and worse days but while I hesitate to use the word ’fortunate,’ a lot of the reason that we’ve been OK as an organization is because of the boards planning for unforeseen events,” explained Hardin. “Of course, we had never anticipated a pandemic or for it to be over a year long, but the organization was as prepared as you can be for something like this. Hopefully, things will be back together before too long.”
KNOW & GO
WHO: InConcert Sierra
WHAT: Sierra Master Chorale and Orchestra, Ken Hardin – conductor present “The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace” by Karl Jenkins
WHEN: Sunday, Feb. 21, 2 p.m.
WHERE: Virtual presentation streaming on InConcert Sierra’s YouTube channel and http://www.inconcertsierra.org
TICKETS: Free of charge
It is due to that foresight that InConcert Sierra can offer encore performances at no cost on their YouTube channel for supporters who are missing the stellar material for which the group is both known and well respected.
“We tried to keep our virtual concert programming as similar as possible to our normal concerts – if we can have a pre-concert forum or one already recorded in the past, we include that,” said Executive Director Julie Hardin. “And we have intermission where we can talk about what is coming up. We have had a lot of really nice comments about that. It’s soothing to have something patrons are used to – something semi-normal.”
But there is no denying the virtual concert has limitations and few are happy to be simply watching videos of the music they love.
“I don’t think it took very long to get burned out on virtual performances, especially for those who are accustomed to and love live music,” said Ken. “A virtual concert is never going to be anything like live music.” However, even the encore performances have been well received.
“We’ve been, frankly, pretty amazed at the level of support that we continue to get. It has been really gratifying,” Ken said.
This month, InConcert Seirra’s Third Sunday Virtual Season will present the Sierra Master Chorale and Orchestra’s stirring May 2012 performance of “The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace.”
“Our two performances in May (of 2012) were such hits,” said Julie. “People were asking us to do it again so we performed it again in September of 2012 and then again by request we showed it to sold out audiences in 2016. It’s a really powerful work that really hits home for people.”
“A Mass for Peace” was composed in 1999 and dedicated to the victims of Kosovo. It was commissioned by the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England, to reflect the most war-torn and destructive century in human history, honor the warrior, and inspire the optimism of “ringing in a thousand years of peace.” The work seeks to bridge the many perspectives of war while acknowledging the hope in every human heart for peace in our lifetime.
“It’s a really evocative work,” said Ken. “It’s uplifting in an odd way, and it’s very disturbing also, which makes sense with the subject matter.” He added that the 75-member choir, and 26-member orchestra did an incredible job of performing the piece.
Julie said one of the special moments in this recording is a solo from the late Roberta Frank.
“One of the most exceptional memories of this performance is a short solo by our beloved chorister Roberta Frank who passed away in 2015,” said Julie. “When we pulled this video up from our 2012 archives, it brought me to tears. I know many in our community will love to hear her voice, as I have.”
“The Armed Man” will be available at 2 p.m. on Feb. 21. Julie said she encourages people to attend the premiere to be able chat with choristers and orchestra members, as well as Julie and Ken.
“It’s kind of a fun thing to be involved on the first day to connect with others, especially after this powerful work,” said Julie.
According to the Hardins, following the intermission the first time the work was performed, the audience was so moved they gave a standing ovation as the choir returned to the stage. Ken said it was the first time he had ever seen that in any concert anywhere. Julie shared later in the performance that the choir found their conductor in tears.
“We could barely watch him, or we would be in tears. The entire work is so emotional but is also very uplifting as it ends ringing in a thousand years of peace.”
Many pages of kudos were sent to the organization following each of the earlier performances. Julie said they received more comments than from any of their other presentations. Though submitted in 2012, one in particular still resonates.
Jeannie Wood said, “The performance was breathtaking and nothing short of magnificent! It was truly a visceral experience! So emotional. Our hearts were stirred. Please do this annually. The community and the world need this message so desperately.”
It is a great time to offer hope for the world. The concert is free to the public. In Concert Sierra has refrained from active fundraising. Julie said there are so many other groups in need, “There are so many groups that really need it right now. Especially the “safety net” organizations, so we put the message out to our patrons and have continued to say that if they can please support those groups. Of course, if they can support us, we greatly appreciate it, but we are highly aware that we need this community intact when we get out of this.” ‘
The free concert may be viewed online at http://www.inconcertsierra.org, on the InConcert Sierra Facebook page, or the InConcert Sierra YouTube channel beginning Feb. 21 at 2 p.m. and will remain available on YouTube for three weeks.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@ gmail.com.
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