Under the direction of Chris Shepard, The Worcester Chorus of Music Worcester will return to historic Mechanics Hall to continue its great holiday tradition: a complete performance of Handel's greatest choral work, The Messiah.
Apart from The Worcester Chorus, this performance will feature a full orchestra, acclaimed vocal soloists, and The Festival Singers: a group of Worcester-area vocal students coached by members of The Worcester Chorus leading up to the performance.
In its 2016-2017 Concert Season, Music Worcester and The Worcester Chorus completed a fundraising campaign to record its performance of The Messiah from December of 2016. Charter TV 3 made the film and recording and will be streaming it on its TV channel this holiday season. You can also view the entire performance on YouTube HERE.
READ A REVIEW from last year's Telegram & Gazette article following the performance.
Meet Maestro Joshua Rohde, Director of Choral Activities at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, who will be presenting the Pre-Concert Talk for this performance.
MEET THE SOLOISTS
Jennifer Ferrand-Kelly is an experienced choral singer in Connecticut, having sung with professional ensembles CONCORA and Voce for over ten seasons, and Rhode Island’s Collegium Ancora for one season. She has appeared as a section leader and soloist with ensembles including the Hartford Chorale and the Greater Middletown Chorale. Recent solo performances include Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and CONCORA’s Bach Clavierfest.
She can be heard on recordings including In Delightful Company: Choral Works by Charles Fussell with CONCORA, and Sure on the Shining Night and Music of the Spheres with Voce. During her tenure with Voce, she has been fortunate to work with composers-in- residence including Morten Lauridsen, Ola Gjeilo, Paul Mealor and Eriks Esenvalds. In 2013, The Hartford Courant described her singing as exemplifying “strong musical intelligence” and “excellent breath control.” She completed a degree in Vocal Performance at the State University of New York, College at Geneseo, and studied voice in Buffalo, New York with Adrienne Tworek-Gryta.
Mezzo-soprano Helen Karloski has been gaining recognition particularly in her portrayal of the oratorio repertoire. In 2015, she was the recipient of the Ellen Lopin Blair Award for First Place in the Lyndon Woodside Oratorio Solo Competition. The Santa Fe New Mexican proclaimed “Her voice is beautifully suited for oratorio, and the sincerity of her delivery, along with her poised bearing and physical presentation, forged an almost palpable connection with the audience." Ms. Karloski’s 2016-17 season includes her Carnegie Hall debut performing Mozart’s Mass in C Minor and Bruckner’s Te Deum under the baton of Kent Tritle with the Oratorio Society of New York, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the American Classical Orchestra and the Hudson Vallery Philharmonic, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with Princeton Pro Musica, and a televised broadcast of Craig Hella Johnson’s Considering Matthew Shepard
The New York Times wrote of her performance in Georg Philip Telemann's rarely performed oratorio Der Tag des Gerichts, Helen Karloski commanded attention as Reason. Ms. Karloski made her Lincoln Center debut in Mozart’s Solemn Vespers with the Mostly Mozart Festival under the baton of Iván Fischer. Recent solo appearances include Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with Harry Bicket and the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Dvořák’s Stabat Mater with the Omaha Symphony, the world premier of Evan Fein’s Deborah with Musica Sacra, Telemann’s Der Tag des Gerichts with the American Classical Orchestra, Copland’s In the Beginning with Sacred Music in a Sacred Space and the Alto soloist in Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the New York City Ballet. Other solo engagements include Vivaldi’s
Gloria with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Haydn’s Theresienmesse with Voices of Ascension, Bach’s Magnificat with the Victoria Bach Festival, Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Choral Society of Grace Church, and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody with St. Andrew’s Music Society. Favorite performances include The Cunning Little Vixen (Hen), Le Grande Macabre, and My Fair Lady with the New York Philharmonic, Les Huguenotsand Oresteia at Bard SummerScape, and the New York City premier of Elliot Goldenthal’s Grendel, directed by Academy Award-nominated Julie Taymor. An accomplished ensemble singer, Ms. Karloski has appeared with Conspirare, where she was featured on the GRAMMY-winning recording The Sacred Spirit of Russia, Voices of Ascension, Musica Sacra, Santa Fe Desert Choral, and Handel and Haydn Society.
Tenor Kirk Bobkowski is a recent graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he received his Masters in Vocal Performance. He has performed and been a soloist with many local ensembles including The Worcester Chorus, Worcester State Chorale, Keene Chorale, Masterwork Chorus, Gardner Singers, Odyssey Opera of Boston, National Symphony Chorus of Mexico, and Cantus. His recent opera roles include Tamino (The Magic Flute), Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore), Ferrando (Così fan tutte), and Frederic (The Pirates of Penzance). In addition, Kirk cantors for various parishes in the Worcester diocese, and is on roster with CONCORA, Novi Cantori, and Diamonds from the Dust. He is currently the Chorus Director at Chocksett Middle School and leads an afternoon vocal studio at Wachusett High School. This concert is in memory of his voice teacher the late Dr. Carroll Lehman.
Stephan P. Barnicle, a Worcester native, taught choruses, orchestra and music technology in Connecticut High Schools from 1970 to 2004 when he retired and moved to Fayetteville, NC where he served as Director of Music Ministry at St. Patrick Catholic Church and the Artistic Director of the CANTATE Chamber Choir and the St. Patrick Music for Charity concert series for nine years.
Raised as a chorister in the St. Paul’s Cathedral Boys’ Choir, he has held a variety of positions as a church musician for more than 60 years. He began teaching Recorder and Voice to the younger boys in the Cathedral Choir School while still in high school, and has continued to teach and to play ever since that time.
Mr. Barnicle has appeared as guest soloist and conductor throughout the U.S. and in Europe. His solo roles have included several Operas, Oratorios and recitals here and abroad. His compositions and arrangements are often programmed by all-state and festival choirs here and abroad, including the Worcester Chorus in 2011 and in the recent Armenian Genocide Centennial concert at Mechanics Hall. Another composition, a setting of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Bells” was premiered here in Mechanics Hall by the Master Singers of Worcester, the Salisbury Singers and Handbell Choir of First Congregational Church of Shrewsbury in the Spring of 2017. He was the Music Director of the Visit Canada International Polychoral Festival in Montreal and Quebec for a decade.
He is a published author, poet, arranger and award winning composer whose works are published by Walton, Plymouth and Alliance publications, and has served as choral consultant for Glencoe/Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Educational Publishing. He was named Connecticut Music Educator of the Year for 1995; he was awarded the University of Connecticut’s “Excellence in High School Teaching” award; and was honored on national television on the “Disney Channel and McDonald’s presents the American Teacher Awards.” He is listed in Who’s Who in American
Education, Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.
During the summer of 2013 Steve returned to Worcester and accepted the position of Director of Music Ministry at the First Congregational Church of Paxton, and has joined the faculty of the Joy of Music Program as a Recorder and Voice teacher.