Community Members Invited to Join CU-Mansfield Festival Chorus


Community singers from high school age through senior citizens are invited to sing in the Commonwealth University-Mansfield Festival Chorus under the direction of Peggy Dettwiler for the spring semester. Rehearsals begin Tuesday, Jan, 23, at 7 p.m. in Steadman Theatre. The performance will be held on Sunday, April 14, at 2:30 p.m. The chorus will prepare “Requiem” by John Rutter and “The Creation (A Rock Cantata)” by David Bobrowitz and Steven Porter. John Rutter’s “Requiem” is a musical setting of parts of the Latin Requiem with added psalms and biblical verses in English. It is scored for soprano, mixed choir, and chamber ensemble. Five of its seven movements are based on text from the Latin Requiem Mass, while the second movement is a setting of Out of the Deep (Psalm 130), and the sixth movement is an anthem, The Lord is My Shepherd (Psalm 23), which Rutter had earlier written, and the Festival Chorus performed at the Choral Collage this past fall. The first movement of Requiem combines the Introit and Kyrie, and the third is Pie Jesu with a soprano solo. The central movement is a lively Sanctus, followed by Agnus Dei and, finally, Lux Aeterna.

After hearing an NPR broadcast of Haydn’s Creation in 1969, David Bobrowitz decided to write a new version of the 2000-year-old story using the late 60s and early 70s rock idiom. Inspired by the new direction that rock music had taken with the advent of the Beatles, he and his colleague, Steven Porter, undertook to write a cantata for the SATB chorus accompanied by a rock rhythm section. Porter first worked on framing the lyrics using modern language to the seven-day story of the Creation. Over the past 50 years, The Creation (A Rock Cantata) has been performed around the world by choruses of all ages, ranging from professional groups to school, university, and church groups. Mansfield choirs performed the piece in 1996.

The Festival Chorus is a mixed chorus of about 65 voices, which is open to all university students as well as community and high school singers. Large-scale performances with orchestra and professional soloists have included Handel’s “Messiah,” Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” Haydn’s “Creation” and “Mass in Time of War,” Mendelssohn’s “Elijah,” Bach’s “Mass in B Minor,” and the” Requiems” by Brahms, Fauré, Mozart, Rutter, and Verdi. The Festival Chorus has also produced numerous recordings.

The chorus meets on Tuesday evenings in Steadman Theatre from 7- 8:30 p.m. Singers only need to vocalize for placement in the soprano, alto, tenor, or bass sections. Sectional rehearsals will take place on Thursdays from 4-4:50 p.m. for Mansfield students. Volunteer members are encouraged, but not required, to participate in sectional rehearsals.

The score for Rutter’s “Requiem” is available at the campus bookstore check-out counter for $16.50. It is the Hinshaw Version edition HMB-164. For more information, call Peggy Dettwiler at 570-662-4721 or email