Shepherdstown, WV—The Masterworks Chorale, the Eastern Panhandle’s premiere vocal ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Rachel Carlson, presents two Baroque favorites, the Vivaldi Gloria and Bach Magnificat, on Saturday, November 5th at 8:00 p.m. in the Frank Arts Center Theater. This production will feature a full orchestra and Shepherd University voice faculty soloists mezzo-soprano Melanie Regan and baritone Dr. Rob Tudor, as well as solos by some of Shepherd University’s finest vocal students.
Antonio Vivaldi, a priest, music teacher and virtuoso violinist, composed his Gloria in Venice, probably in 1715, for the choir of the Ospedale della Pietà, an orphanage for girls, where he spent most of his career and composed many sacred works, as well as hundreds of instrumental concertos, to be played by the girls’ orchestra. This, his most famous choral piece, presents the traditional Gloria from the Latin Mass in twelve varied cantata-like sections. The wonderfully sunny nature of the Gloria, with its distinctive melodies and rhythms, is characteristic of all of Vivaldi’s music, giving it an immediate and universal appeal. Vivaldi, one of the most popular of all composers, who during his lifetime enjoyed considerable success and fortune, which he squandered through extravagance, died in Vienna and was buried in a pauper’s grave. For two centuries after his death, the Gloria lay undiscovered until the late 1920s, when it was found buried among a pile of forgotten Vivaldi manuscripts.
The Magnificat, one of Johann Sebastian Bach’s most popular vocal works, is a musical setting of the biblical canticle Magnificat, and his first major liturgical composition on a Latin text. It is scored for five vocal parts and a Baroque orchestra. The text of the canticle is taken directly from the Gospel of Luke (1:46–55) where it is spoken by Mary upon the occasion of her Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth. In the narrative, after Mary greets Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist, the latter moves within Elizabeth’s womb. Elizabeth praises Mary for her faith using words from the Hail Mary, and Mary responds with what is now known as the Magnificat. Generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time, Bach, whose music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth, was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period.
Featured Shepherd University voice students are Samuel Bower (Middletown, MD), Keira Fletcher (Martinsburg, WV), Grace Guiney (Harpers Ferry, WV), Carol Niedringhaus (Frederick, MD), Tamira Patterson (Westminster, MD), Stephanie Proctor (Chantilly, VA), Ashley Propst (Kearneysville, WV), Bethany Przybocki (Haymarket, VA), and Alexandra Rosle (Harleysville, PA).
Mezzo-soprano Melanie Zayas Regan, a well-known teacher and singer based in Maryland, earned her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in Voice Performance from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University Highly regarded as a soloist in recital and with orchestra, Ms. Regan has been privileged to have an active performance presence in the area, with particular success with the Oratorio repertoire. She has performed as the mezzo-soprano soloist in the Rossini Stabat Mater, the Mozart Mass in C, the Bach Magnificat, the Vivaldi Gloria, and Mozart’s Requiem, among others. She has studied and sung with prestigious teachers such as Frederica Von Stade, Steven Rainbolt, Ruth Drucker, and John Shirley-Quirk. In addition to a robust studio and directing the Opera Workshop at Shepherd University, she maintains a full voice studio at Saint James School in Hagerstown, Maryland, where she is stage director for the school’s annual Spring Musical, runs the Saint James Girl’s A Capella group, and provides assistance for a wide range of activities within the department. A number of her students have gone on the great success at nationally recognized graduate programs and can be found performing all along the East Coast.
Baritone Dr. Robert Tudor serves as Director of Vocal Activities, and Chair of the Department of Music at Shepherd University. His multifaceted career has included work as a professional singer, educator, and non-profit executive, including leadership positions at Jacksonville University (JU), The Florida International Festival, The Association of Boarding Schools, American Classic Voyages, and Levine School of Music. As a singer, Tudor has been praised by The Washington Post for his “powerful singing voice,” and “notable acting skills”. He has performed opera, musical theatre, cabaret, and concert works throughout the United States. He received a Doctorate in Musical Arts in Voice Performance from the University of Maryland, College Park; a Master of Music from the University of Miami, and Bachelor of Music from Stetson University. Awards include a 2003 Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council, 2004 Artist of the Year from Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia, and 2009 Institutional Award for Excellence from Jacksonville University.
Dr. Rachel Carlson is Director of Choral Activities at Shepherd University and conductor of the Shepherd University Chamber Singers, Women’s Camerata, and Masterworks Chorale. In addition to conducting, she teaches choral methods and conducting classes. She founded and serves as Artistic Director of Six Degree Singers, a community choir based in Silver Spring, MD, and serves as Assistant Conductor of the Washington Master Chorale. In 2014, Dr. Carlson was nominated for a Wammie (Washington Area Music Award) for best Classical Conductor/ Director. Dr. Carlson has toured extensively with professional choirs across the country, appearing as a soprano soloist with the Washington Master Chorale, Washington Bach Consort, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Oregon Bach Festival, True Concord Voices and Orchestra, Vox Humana, and Washington Revels and as a professional choral singer with Conspirare and the Manhattan Chorale. Carlson holds Bachelor’s degrees in Vocal Performance and Music Education from the University of Maryland, a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a DMA in Choral Conducting from the University of Maryland.
The Masterworks Chorale is a vocal ensemble with over 100 members, comprised of Shepherd University vocal students and members from the surrounding community. They present two full-length concerts per year of great masterpieces from the choral literature.
General admission for Gloria and Magnificat is $15, $10 for faculty, staff, Shepherd alumni, senior citizens, and students 18 and under; and free for Shepherd students with Rambler ID. Admission and seating is first-come first-serve and there are no advance sales or reservations. Box office opens one hour prior to performance. For information call 304-876-5555 or www.shepherd.edu/music.