For nearly 75 years, the Anchorage Concert Chorus has brought together singers from all walks of life to perform some of the great choral works. Founded by Lorene Harrison in 1947, Alaska’s largest auditioned chorus’ 2019/20 season continues long-time Anchorage traditions, celebrates a masterwork of the repertoire, and performs newer works that bind tradition and modern musical sensibilities.
Under the direction of Grant Cochran, ACC begins their season with Felix Mendelssohn’s Elijah. Mendelssohn revered the works of Johann Sebastian Bach and Georg Friederich Handel, and Elijah celebrates these composers and the tradition of the oratorio - a large scale work that utilizes choir, orchestra and vocal soloists. Stretching beyond two hours, Elijah is one of Mendelssohn’s most celebrated works and is frequently performed all around the world. ACC’s production of Elijah features four local singers as soloists and is Cochran’s first time conducting the piece. “I wanted this year to focus on major works...and I can’t think of another composer who writes so well for the voice and is so gratifying to sing,” Cochran said. Mendelssohn’s writing is characterized by complex counterpoint, graceful melodies and is buoyed by jubilant, bubbling textures.
December brings two long time Anchorage holiday traditions back to the concert hall - the 73rd annual community performance of Handel’s Messiah at West High School and ACC’s annual Holiday Pops concert. The Holiday Pops concert brings together both the choir and full ACC orchestra in a performance of holiday favorites, wintery classics and an assortment of other musical delights.
ACC’s final performance of the year, titled Omnis Terra, brings to life two lesser known large scale works that both celebrate both long-time vocal tradition and cultural diversity. The concert consists of two pieces, Jubilate Deo by Dan Forrest and Stabat Mater by Karl Jenkins. Both the Forrest and Jenkins make use of texts that have long relationships with the music world. The Stabat Mater text in particular has been set countless times over the years by such notable composers as Haydn, Rossini, Verdi, Schubert, and even Poulenc. What sets Jenkins’ musical setting apart is his use of a diverse instrumentation and multiple languages, fulfilling the “all the world” promise of the concert title. At one point, Jenkins weaves together melodies sung simultaneously in Latin, English, Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek. This unique take offers a fresh, new dimension to the well worn text.
ACC heads into its 2019/20 season with their sights set on a season of larger works and continuing the tradition of choral excellence that has defined the organization for nearly 75 years.
The Anchorage Concert Chorus presents Mendelssohn’s Elijah on October 12th, Holiday Pops on December 22nd, and Omnis Terra on March 28th in the Atwood Concert Hall at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are available at CenterTix.com.