by Kara Blizzard
The Augustana Choir will finish up the school year with two concert performances that relate to Augustana’s current theme of food. The first, Rejoice in the Lamb, is on Saturday, April 25th. It will feature plenty of singing, as well as a local dinner made by Augustana’s talented Food Services staff. A second performance on Sunday, April 26th, called If Music Be the Food of Love, will be a British Afternoon Tea. The music will be similar to that of the first performance, and there will be tea and crumpets at intermission.
The choir held a Slow Food Dinner last year to kick off the food theme, and director Dr. Ardelle Ries stated that its success led to the idea of a similar function this year. Saturday’s dinner will feature an array of local foods, including lamb, beef, salads, Yorkshire pudding, and trifle. Local berry juice will be served both Saturday and Sunday.
Russell Ault, tenor singer and president of the choir’s executive committee, said, “There’s always been sort of a tie-in between music and food.” Rejoice in the Lamb will play with this connection by featuring both music and food that relates to the concert’s title. Ault highly recommends attending the concert, both for the music and the food. He stated, “the food is going to be fantastic, and it’s going to be more than a choir concert; it’s going to be a choir event, and I think it’s an event that should not be missed.” Both performances will feature British music, in accordance with the Augustana Choir’s current theme. Ault suggested that English lyrics allow the audience to really connect with the music.
Choir member Chantelle Olson is also excited for the performance, especially Benjamin Britten’s 20-minute cantata, Rejoice in the Lamb. According to Olson, who sings second soprano, the concert will be “a chance to hear some really good famous music,” including work by Britten, Ralph Vaughn Williams, Henry Purcell, and even the Beatles. Olson suggested that Organist Jeremy Spurgeon and pianist Dr. Roger Admiral will complement the choir’s singing.
Spurgeon plays at All Saints’ Cathedral in Edmonton, and choir director Ries said he is “a superb musician.” Spurgeon will accompany the choir for Britten’s cantata. Ries has wanted to perform this piece for a long time, and she said, “This year we have a choir that is up to the challenge!”
The concerts will be fundraising events in support of the Steinway Piano Fund and the Augustana Choir Centenary Alumni Tour in Spring 2010. For tickets to either performance, visit Augustana’s bookstore or Candler Art Gallery. If you are interested in booking a table for eight for Saturday’s dinner, contact Val Bailey at 780-679-1532.