Inauguarl Concert


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Inaugural Concert

Eastern Mennonite University Chamber Singers under the direction of Ken Nafziger will 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 College)

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 Brown
with instrumentalists from the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival Orchestra

III. 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 Beatriz
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 two excerpts from José María Vitier's " Misa Cubana" with instrumentalists from the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival Orchestra, and Stephen Sachs (EMU music faculty) and Anne Gross


Ken NafzigerKenneth Nafziger: conductor
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 [1992] and editor of its Accompaniment Handbook [1993]. He is active in the US and Canada as a guest conductor, workshop leader and clinician.

Anthony BrownAnthony Brown: baritone
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

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 KurtzHeidi Kurtz: soprano
Heidi Kurtz is a 1989 graduate of Eastern Mennonite University's music program. She continued her studies in 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 HelmuthLes Helmuth: tenor
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.



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