SMCA June 4, 2017 Final Concert



The final concert of St. Maries Choral Arts 2017 season will feature music by all the groups in the organization, Chesapeake Children’s Chorus, St. Maries Minstrels, St. Maries Musica, St. Maries Singers and St. Maries Acapella.  Music from the sixteenth century through the twenty-first century will be presented in this gala event.

St. Maries Singers and St. Maries Musica will join forces with the Symphony Orchestra of Northern Virginia (SONOVA) and pianist Juan Carlos Escudero to present Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy.  The Choral Fantasy was first performed in 1808 along with Beethoven’s Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, the Fourth Piano Concerto and excerpts of the Mass in C major.  Fortunately, our audience will hear only the Choral Fantasy.  If the main theme of this work sounds familiar, that is because Beethoven used it in his Ninth Symphony, Ode to Joy.   

Juan Carlos Escudero

Juan Carlos Escudero is one of South America's leading pianists.  He was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, in 1984. In 1994, Escudero joined the Rimsky -Korsakov Music Conservatory of Guayaquil, where he began his piano training with Aliona Dziouba. In 1999 he began studying piano and chamber music with Reinaldo Cañizares. In 1995 he won the First Prize of the Ecuadorian National Musical Competition at the Ecuadorian - German Cultural Center.  Mr. Escudero has performed all over North and South America.   We are thrilled to have him as our guest performer.


In addition to this wonderful Beethoven work, St. Maries Musica and SONOVA will present one of three world premiere performances of Children of Zeus, by Brian Wilbur Grundstrom.  St. Maries Choral Arts co-commissioned this work “in memory of our dear friend and colleague, Robert W. Boyd”.  To quote Jeffrey Sean Dokken, Director of SONOVA, “Children of Zeus is an incredibly exciting new commission by American Composer Brian Wilbur Grundstrom. It is comprised of 5 movements, each one focusing on one of Zeus’s children. Grundstrom has masterfully set to music text about these Greek Gods and Goddesses, capturing their spirits and personalities in this epic new work for orchestra and choir. From the lush, mysterious harmonies of Dionysus to the loud and militaristic Ares. From the beautiful melody of Aphrodite and the cynicism of Hercules, to the almost hypnotic refrain of Apollo. Children of Zeus is a magnificent new work that will keep you engaged, entertained, and educated from first note to last.” ~ Maestro Jeffrey Sean Dokken.

According to Greek mythology, Zeus was the supreme ruler of the Gods.  His wife was Hera but not all the children portrayed in this piece were Hera’s, which made her quite jealous.  Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera.  He was the god of war.  Apollo is the god of music, healing and knowledge and as the god of the sun, rode his chariot to move the sun across the sky. His mother was a human, Leto of Delos. Aphrodite, known in Roman mythology as Venus, is the goddess of Love and Beauty.  She is said to have sprung from the sea foam near the island of Cyprus.  Dionysus, Bacchus in Roman mythology, is the god of wine.  His mother was Semele, a princess of Thebes.  Hercules was the strongest on earth and considered himself the equal of the gods.  His mother was a mortal, Alcmene.  Hera hated Hercules, and drove him to kill his wife and children.  As penance, he was given 12 labors, including slaying the Hydra (the water monster that grew two heads for every one that was cut off), cleaning the Augean stables (where 3,000 divine cattle had lived for over 30 years without it ever having been cleaned), and catching the Erymanthian boar.  


Brian Wilbur Grundstrom


The composer, Brian Wilbur Grundstrom, writes for orchestra, opera, film, theater, chorus, piano and chamber ensembles.  He was classically trained in piano as well as music theory at Gettsyburg College and studied orchestration and composition with John David Earnest. Grundstrom won Outstanding Emerging Artist in the 2013 DC Mayor's Arts Awards and has received five grants from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

His music has been performed by Orquestra sinfônica do Teatro Nacional Claudio Santoro, La Orquesta Sinfónica de Guayaquil, Sunderman Woodwind Quintet, SONOS Chamber Orchestra, North/South Consonance, Shippensburg Festival Orchestra, Trinity Chamber Orchestra, George Washington University Orchestra, NIH Philharmonia, Holyoke Civic Symphony, The Queer Urban Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of Northern Virginia, Chamber Music by Candelight by Baltimore Symphony Orchestra musicians. Colla Voce and The New Jersey Gay Men’s Chorus as well as on the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage.  Go HERE to see Mr. Grundstrom's video of the first performance of Children of Zeus.

Symphony Orchestra of Northern Virginia (SONOVA) has performed with SMCA two times in the past.  SONOVA began as a small, government funded, Arlington County orchestra. Wildly popular with audiences and musicians alike, in 2011, the conductor, Maestro Jeffrey Dokken, and the committed musicians established a large, independent professional-quality symphony.  They have performed throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.  SONOVA routinely performs with world class guest artists, conductors, and musicians, and places special importance on collaborations and American and world premieres.Children of Zeus was commissioned for the fifth Anniversary of SONOVA.


Tickets for the final concert will be available at the door, Great Mills High School, June 4, 2017.  The tickets will go on sale at 2:30 for the 3:30 concert.