The Fall Arts Celebration ties a bow on its series of events with a Christmas-inspired concert in a sanctuary; and in holiday spirit, the event will be free.
The Grand Valley State University music department and the university arts chorale and soloists will perform “Gloria: Music of the Holiday Season from Grand Valley” on Monday in the Fountain Street Church in downtown Grand Rapids.
“Fountain Street Church’s sanctuary is an excellent venue for this concert in that it is aesthetically beautiful, acoustically satisfying, resonant and spacious,” said chorale director Ellen Pool.
Fountain Street Church administrator Gigi Own said the sanctuary has a capacity of 1,600 and is known in the Grand Rapids community as a venue branched toward a diverse range of musical groups.
“The sanctuary is spectacular; acoustically it’s beautiful,” Owen said. “The architecture itself is amazing.”
Last year’s GVSU production of a Messiah concert saw attendance of more than 800 people, said Henry Duitman, director of orchestras.
“It is a larger venue than we can provide at GVSU,” Duitman said.
“Gloria” highlights baroque period music, specifically Vivaldi.
“Although the Vivaldi ‘Gloria’ is a featured work on this concert, all pieces performed are representative compositions from the Baroque period or earlier,” Pool said. “Archangelo Corelli, a contemporary of Vivaldi, wrote an engaging ‘Concerto Grosso’ called ‘The Christmas Concerto’ for strings, and the opening work on the concert is a work by Giovanni Gabrieli.”
Gabrieli’s opening piece will be performed by eight antiphonal brass players.
“Having four of these players on each side of the church’s balcony will give an authentic suggestion of the sound one heard in Venice’s famous St. Mark’s Cathedral, where this work was first performed,” Duitman said.
Following Gabrieli’s piece will be Corelli’s “Christmas Concerto”.
“It will be performed by the 21-member faculty and student chamber orchestra,” Duitman said. “This same ensemble will then accompany the large choir on Vivaldi’s “Gloria”, the main work of the evening.”
Duitman calls Vivaldi’s “Gloria” one of the best pieces from the Baroque era by which a non-musician can appreciate the heartfelt joy of the vocal music.
“Many movements are dance-like and energetic,” Pool said. “Although strings are the core of the instrumental ensemble playing in the Vivaldi, some movements incorporate trumpets and one solo movement features the oboe prominently.”
The instrumental colors add variety and interest to the composition of Vivaldi’s Christmas hit, Pool said.
“Glora: Music of the Holiday Season from Grand Valley” is the last event of the Fall Arts Celebration series.
“The Fall Arts Celebration has been very successful providing an array of creative arts presentations to a large audience,” Pool said. “Not only are these performances of a high quality, but also they are offered without charge to the listeners.”
The concert is Monday at 8 p.m. at 24 Fountain Street NE, Grand Rapids.
“I am looking forward to giving this holiday gift to the Grand Rapids community,” Pool said. “Hearing great music performed well in a vibrant acoustical setting cannot be equaled.”