Music with history: Music in the Mountains presents a concert all about community |

Music with history: Music in the Mountains presents a concert all about community

The Music in the Mountains festival chorus and ensemble will perform the 75-minute choral work which also features organist Kevin McKelvie and four vocal soloists.
Submitted photo to Prospector


WHAT: Music in the Mountains presents “An American Requiem”

WHEN: Friday: Doors 6:15 p.m., pre-concert discussion at 6:30 p.m., concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday: Doors 12:45 p.m., pre-concert discussion at 1 p.m., concert at 2 p.m.

WHERE: Peace Lutheran Church, 828 W. Main Street, Grass Valley

TICKETS: Adults $25-$55, Students under 17 free, 10 percent military discount on all regularly priced concert admissions, for up to two adult tickets at the concert box office — with current I.D. Tickets available at the door, online at, by phone 530-265-6124, or in person at the office, 530 Searls Ave, Nevada City

Friday and Saturday, at Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley, Music in the Mountains presents “An American Requiem,” one of the greatest pieces of choral music ever written.

“This concert is all about community. The music celebrates people coming together and as the composer James DeMars said, ‘It is a requiem to all Americans who dedicated their lives to building this great nation,’” said Ryan Murray, Music in the Mountain’s resident conductor.

Following the 1992 Los Angeles riots subsequent to the Rodney King trial, Dr. James DeMars, a professor of Music Composition at Arizona State University, was commissioned by the Art Renaissance Foundation to write a large memorial work that would contribute to bringing the American community together. Taking influences from Native American spiritual music, along with gospel, medieval motet and even the words of Walt Whitman and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “An American Requiem” is an engaging, fascinating and inspiring work.

The Washington Post called it, “Grand and spacious, stately, ethereal, glorious, inspired and quintessentially American, (it) speaks of untarnished dreams and naïve yearnings; an intensely hopeful conjuration of all that is best about the nation’s people.”

“The piece is well written vocally and quite dramatic,” said Murray. “Each movement is in a different style so there is a lot of opportunity for the chorus to work on different sounds and styles.”

The Music in the Mountains festival ensemble and chorus will perform the 75-minute choral work that also features organist Kevin McKelvie and four vocal soloists — soprano Kathleen Magee Querec, mezzo-soprano Lisa Alexander, tenor Matt Hidalgo and bass Walter Aldrich.

Special guests

Kevin McKelvie has served as Interim Director of Instrumental Music at Alma College (MI) from 1983-1985 where he conducted the college marching band, concert band, jazz ensemble, the Alma Symphony Orchestra, began a chapel choir and taught orchestration and conducting. From 1985-1996, he was the music director and conductor of the McHenry County Youth Orchestras that was named Youth Orchestra of the Year by the Illinois Council of Orchestras in 1996.

McKelvie appeared with Music in the Mountains in the 2017 Choral Spring concert.

Magee Querec has earned many awards including being a regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in Chicago, and has performed over 50 operatic roles throughout the U.S. and abroad. Most recently Querec appeared last year with Music in the Mountains in the 2017 Choral Spring and Happy Holiday concerts.

Lisa Alexander is a Nevada City native who is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. Now based in Austin, Texas, she is active in a range of musical projects, from early music to Gilbert and Sullivan to grand opera.

Matt Hidalgo is currently the resident tenor for the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra, and performs regularly with St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, Fifth Church of Christ Scientist, Sacramento Opera, The Sacramento Choral Society, Capella Antiqua, Sacramento’s Classical Revolution, the choirs at UC Davis, the Carson City Chamber Singers in Carson City, Nev., and is also a regular performer for the St. Mark’s annual Bravo Bach! Festival.

Walter Aldrich is an alumnus of the Aspen Music Festival and School and the Lingua e Canto summer opera intensive in Italy. While studying in Sacramento in 2014, he won first place in the Cal-West Regional competition and was named the first place winner of Music in the Mountains Lucy Becker Memorial Scholarship.

Aldrich has been a featured soloist in many regional ensembles, in addition to maintaining an active presence as a collaborative pianist and as a choral conductor.

About the Chorus

The Music in the Mountains Chorus is an auditioned community chorus, made up of nearly one hundred singers from the region. The chorus performs several times throughout the year at Music in the Mountains concerts and SummerFest, and is dedicated to sharing quality choral music with the community.

The organization has its roots in the Golden Chain Chorale of the 1970s, a group of 20-40 members, part of the Sierra Musical Arts Association. In the mid-1980s Music in the Mountains formed (with the chorus at its core) and renamed the group the Festival Chorale. The chorus has since grown into one of the top community choirs in the Sierra foothills.

“The MIM Chorus is special in many ways including that many of its members have been with us for over thirty years,” said Murray. “These hardworking musicians have dedicated countless hours of their time to practicing and performing, and because of that, they are able to create truly beautiful concerts that really resonate with our audiences.”

Source: Music in the Mountains.

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