University Chamber Singers under the direction of Ken
present an evening of music 8 p.m. Friday Mar. 26,
in Lehman Auditorium.
The concert is free and open to the public.
I. Spirituals - with soloist Anthony Brown (Hesston
II. Johann Sebastian Bach.
Mass in A Major
With soloists Anne Gross (EMU music faculty), Heidi
Kurtz (EMU music
grad), Les Helmuth (EMU music grad), and Anthony
with instrumentalists from the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival Orchestra
Music from Cuba
This section of the program will include the premiere performance of
a short "Ave Maria" written for this choir by Cuban composer
Corona and given last September to Ken Nafziger as an expression of
thanks for EMU's interest in her music. This section will also include
from José María
Misa Cubana" with instrumentalists from the Shenandoah Valley Bach
Festival Orchestra, and Stephen Sachs (EMU music faculty) and Anne Gross
Kenneth Nafziger is Professor of Music at Eastern Mennonite University. He
received his D.M.A. from the University of Oregon, and was a post-doctoral
conducting student with Helmuth Rilling in Stuttgart, Germany. At EMU his teaching
responsibilities include the EMU Chamber Singers, courses in conducting, music
history, interdisciplinary humanities, and in music and worship at the seminary.
Mr. Nafziger is also music director and conductor of the Lake Chelan Bach Feste
in Chelan, Wash., the conductor of two chamber choirs, Winchester Musica Viva
in Winchester, Va. and VOCE in Reston. Va., and music director and conductor
of the Youth Orchestra of Charlottesville-Albemarle, Charlottesville, Va. This
spring, Winchester Musica Viva will release a new CD, including music of the
United States, Cuba, Spain, and Latin America. During this current sabbatical
year, he has made three trips to Cuba, one of which was an extended time of
teaching, conducting, and learning more Spanish. On earlier visits, he guest
conducted the Orquesta Sinfónica de Matanzas, led concert trips with
the EMU Chamber Singers and with Winchester Musica Viva, and taught master
classes in singing spirituals and in orchestral conducting. Last summer's unique
festival, Bach y la música de Cuba, came about through the cooperation
and assistance of Cuban musical friends. Mr. Nafziger is a founding member
of the Board of Directors for the Milestone Learning Center, Highlands, N.C.,
a member of the Board of Directors for Melodious Accord, Inc., New York, N.Y.,
and was music editor of Hymnal: A Worship Book  and editor of its Accompaniment
Handbook . He is active in the US and Canada as a guest conductor, workshop
leader and clinician.
Anthony Brown performs
the entire repertoire of vocal music, from opera, oratorio and art
song to musical theater and spirituals. He specializes in
music describing the American experience. In March of 2002, he toured
Bosnia Herzegovinia under the sponsorship of the U.S. State Department and
Face to Face Interreligious Services of Sarajevo. More recently he
performed for two weeks in Northern Ireland.
Brown, a baritone, has appeared as an oratorio soloist performing Bach's
"St. Matthew's Passion," Handel's "Messiah," Beethoven's "Ninth Symphony,"
Mozart's "Requiem, "Brahms' "Ein Deutsches Requiem" and Mendelssohn's
"Elijah." Operatic performances include principal roles in Mozart's "Die
Fledermaus," Menotti's "Amahl and the Night Visitors," Puccini's "Gianni
"Schicci" and Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess."
He collaborated with pianist Lisa Berman in producing two compact disc
recordings. The first release, in 1995, is entitled "Spirituals." His
second, "Embracing American Song, was released in 1999. The fall of 2002,
he completed a third recording, "Toil and Triumph," in collaboration with
the spirituals Project Choir of Denver, Colo.
Brown is currently a member of the teaching faculty and is
artist-in-residence at Hesston College in Hesston, Kan.
Anne Gross: soprano
Anne Gross, soprano, has been praised for her exquisite tone, excellent breath
control and enjoyable stage presence; she is a polished performer who delights
audiences with her musicality and sense of humor. Ms. Gross received her
Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from the Oberlin Conservatory
of Music and a Master of Music degree in vocal performance from the University
of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she was a recipient
of the prestigious Corbett Opera Scholarship. She is currently an Instructor
of Music at Eastern Mennonite University where she teaches class voice,
private voice, vocal pedagogy and Introduction to Music Listening and directs
the University Chorale. Recent performances include a solo faculty recital,
Chanting to Paradise-Emily Dickinson in Song, and solo appearances with
the EMU Community Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. Ms. Gross was the featured
soloist in J. S. Bach's Cantata No. 202 in the 2001 Shenandoah Valley Bach
Festival. In the 2002 Festival she performed Libby Larsen's song cycle
Love After 1950. She has sung with Boston Lyric Opera and Longwood Opera
and has appeared in many Gilbert and Sullivan productions. Ms. Gross was
a founding member of Showstoppers, a theater company presenting musical
revues on Boston's South Shore, and she has performed in numerous musical
theater cabarets. Ms. Gross came to EMU from a four-year association with
the African Children's Choir. During that time she served as the United
Kingdom administrator for the choir as well as the tour director and musical
supervisor of the choir in North America, Europe, the Republic of Ireland
and the United Kingdom.
Heidi Kurtz: soprano
Heidi Kurtz is a 1989 graduate
of Eastern Mennonite University's music program. She continued her
Temple University's vocal
performance master's program. Professionally, she has appeared both
in musical theater and on the concert stage. She is a member of the
Philadelphia Singers Chorale, and with them has performed with the
Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Philadelphia
Concerto Soloists. She has performed mezzo-soprano solos in Messiah
for five seasons with the Chester County Christian Chorale. She has
appeared on two recordings with the Table Singers, More Christmas A
capella and Century Singing Live. She has been the soprano soloist
at All Saint's Episcopal Church in Wynnewood, Pa., since 1995. She
will tour with them in Europe this summer. She is currently teaching
at Roberto Clemente Middle School in Philadelphia.
Les Helmuth received his music degree from Eastern
Mennonite University. He has appeared as a soloist with the Shenandoah
Valley Choral Society in Haydn's Mass in D Minor (Lord Nelson) and
Creation, in Vaughn Williams' Serenade to Music and Handel's Messiah.
He has also appeared as a soloist with the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival
in Bach's B Minor Mass, St. Matthew Passion, and Schubert's Mass in
E-flat Major, The Other Itinerary (a unique collection of Bach arias,
duets & quartets) and is the cantor for the Festival's annual Sunday
morning Leipzig service. Mr. Helmuth has appeared with the Shenandoah
Valley Children's Choirs and most recently with the EMU music department
in a performance of Britten's St. Nicholas. Among the roles he has
performed are King Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Frederic
in Pirates of Penzance, the Defendant in Trial by Jury, and Timothy
in Alice Parker's Singer's Glen. Mr. Helmuth is the director of development
at Eastern Mennonite High School in Harrisonburg.