posted April 11, 2007

Concert to Feature Commissioned Work

The combined choirs of Hope College will perform a commissioned work for choir and organ on Tuesday, April 24, at 7:30 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.

The public is invited. Admission is free.

The concert will feature more than 100 voices as the Chapel Choir and College Chorus combine under the direction of Brad Richmond.

The performance will feature the world premiere of "Lord Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor," which was commissioned especially for the performance by Hope College faculty member and organist Huw Lewis in memory of his parents. The work has been composed and will be performed by Alfred V. Fedak, a 1975 Hope College graduate who is minister of music and arts at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Capitol Hill in Albany, N.Y., and a widely published and well-known composer of church music.

Fedak said the new work is set for mixed voices and organ, and is based on a famous Welsh hymn, "Bryn Calfaria."

"The anthem is a straightforward setting of the hymn, with each of its four stanzas presented in a different harmonic and textural context," Fedak said. "The organ and choir are given roles of equal importance throughout the piece."

Fedak has more than 150 choral and organ works in print, and his hymn tunes appear in hymnals and collections in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, China and Japan. Two anthologies of his hymns have been published by Selah Publishing Company: "The Alfred V. Fedak Hymnary" (1990) and "Sing to the Lord No Threadbare Song" (2001). A third collection, "God of the Future," is scheduled for release in July.

He holds a Master's degree in organ performance from Montclair State University and has done additional study at Westminster Choir College and Eastman School of Music, and in Austria and England.

In his role at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Fedak plays a recently-restored four-manual, 1929 E.M. Skinner pipe organ, experience that is helpful since his work will be premiered on Hope College's restored Skinner organ. Originally installed in 1929, the college's organ recently underwent a two-year restoration project that was completed earlier during the current school year. Ernest Skinner's organs, particularly from the period during which Hope's was built, are considered among the best ever made.

The performance will also feature 2001 Hope graduate Greg Frens, who is currently a visiting voice faculty member, singing the "Five Mystical Songs" by Ralph Vaughan Williams for chorus and baritone soloist. Fedak will be the organist accompanist for Frens.

The evening will also include two spirituals, "Keep your Lamps," and "Ain-a that Good News!," as well as "Rejoice in the Lord Always" for choir and organ by Stephen Sturk.

The performance is the third of five performances featuring the Skinner organ. The remaining performances are set for the fall semester, on Oct. 23, and Nov. 2. The Oct. 23 performance will feature Notre Dame (Paris) organist Olivier Latry, and the Nov. 2 performance features another commissioned work.

Dimnent Memorial Chapel is located at 277 College Ave., on the corner of College and 12th Street.