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Sounds of chorale to fill 'great acoustic spaces'

Bay Area university, high school choirs to participate

Valley Concert Chorale, celebrating its 54th season, will host a choral festival this month featuring Artist in Residence Eriks Ešenvalds.

The festival includes two performances in which the chorale will collaborate with the highly regarded choruses from San Jose State University, Cal State East Bay and Mt. Eden High School.

The first performance is at 7:30 p.m. this Friday (May 19) at All Saints Catholic Church, 22824 Second St., Hayward. The second performance is at 7 p.m. Sunday (May 21) at Mission Dolores Basilica, 3321 16th St., San Francisco.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the world of Eriks' incredible and beautiful music, in great acoustic spaces, and with the composer present to introduce the selections to the audience," said the chorale's artistic director John Emory Bush. "His music benefits greatly from combining choirs as more singers amplify the rich texture he intends to create."

The participation of the high school and university choirs also enriches those singers, Bush noted.

"High school and university choirs around the world are performing his music frequently, and this festival allows our participating choirs to sing his compositions and have a personal connection with the composer," Bush said. "It is a thrilling opportunity for the singers and audience alike."

Many of Ešenvalds' compositions feature music about clouds, stars, nature and the ocean, filled with rich, lush and thick textures that create an extraordinary atmosphere of choral sound. Selections will include Ešenvalds' setting of "Amazing Grace," described as "unique, ingenious and harmoniously impressive"; and his "Trinity Te Deum," described as a grand and glorious piece.

"As a singer in VCC, I'm looking forward to the festival for a number of reasons," said chorale president Don Plondke. "First and foremost is having one of the most sought-after contemporary choral composers in-residence with us to share his thoughts about the subtleties of his gorgeous music, as well as share his experiences in performance with dozens of singers of all ages."

Tickets are $25 in advance and at the door. Visit www.valleyconcertchorale.org, or all 866-4003.

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