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Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra Presents 25th Anniversary Gala Concert for Music, Gettysburg!

(5/2) The Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra (GCO) will present a special concert of festive music on Sunday, May 8, at 4:00 pm, in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Music, Gettysburg! The concert will take place in the Chapel of the local Lutheran Theological Seminary and will include works by Brahms, Kodaly, Vaughan Williams, and the world premiere of a work by local composer, John William (Buzz) Jones.

Under the direction of Norman Nunamaker, the GCO will be joined by the Gettysburg Schola Cantorum and members of the Gettysburg Civic Chorus in performing Zoltan Kodaly’s "Te Deum," Vaughan Williams’ "Five Mystical Songs," and the work by Dr. Jones, entitled "Visions in Paint and Stone." Five area vocal soloists will join the orchestra and chorus; Dr. Pamela Cooper-White, soprano, a resident of Gettysburg, has performed with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus and San Francisco Opera; mezzo Meredith Megles, a resident of Fairfield, has performed frequently with the Northern Virginia Opera company and appeared with the GCO in a gala performance in 2002; Christyan Seay, tenor, resides in Harrisburg, and has been a frequent performer with the Harrisburg Civic Opera and with many local choral ensembles. Stephen Swartzbaugh, baritone, is a graduate of Gettysburg College and teaches music in the Biglerville High School and has appeared with many area choral groups as a soloist; and Wayne Hill, baritone, is no stranger to Gettysburg audiences, having performed in practically every venue in the tri-state area, including many performances with the Harrisburg Civic Opera.

The concert will begin with three Hungarian Dances of Johannes Brahms, favorites with music lovers from the time they were written. The glorious "Te Deum" by Kodaly stands as one of the great choral works of the 20th century, and requires a large orchestra in addition to the chorus and four vocal soloists. Vaughan Williams’ songs, featuring a baritone solo performed by Wayne Hill plus chorus, is more contemplative until the final number, when the chorus takes over to sing a final "Glory to God and King!"

The concert will conclude with a work written by Dr. John Jones, Professor of Music at Gettysburg College and Chair of the Music Department. In 2001 Dr. Jones had been commissioned by the GCO to write a work for chamber orchestra and chamber choir. The result was Glory Ridge, a five-movement cantata that was premiered in both Gettysburg and at the Whitaker Center, Harrisburg. Dr. Jones rewrote the final movement of the cantata, based on texts by Dr. Herman Stuempfle, President Emeritus of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, and entitled it "Visions in Paint and Stone." The current work uses a full orchestra, including all the brass, strings and winds available to a composer, to write this "hymn of praise."

The Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1997 by Carolyn and Norman Nunamaker, and presented its first concert in 1998. Since that time it has presented scores of outstanding local musicians both as members and soloists. It has been associated with Music, Gettysburg! from its inception and, according to Nunamaker, "is proud to be taking part in this commemorative concert honoring this outstanding musical series." The music series "has grown to be one of the primary presenters of music in the Gettysburg area" Nunamaker added.

This concert is supported by the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA), the regional arts funding partnership of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency. State government funding comes through an annual appropriation by Pennsylvania’s General Assembly and from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. PPA is administered in this region by the Council for the Arts in Chambersburg.

Enjoy this choral musical treat at the Sunday afternoon concert, which is free and open to the public. The Seminary Chapel is on Seminary Ridge in Gettysburg. For more information about this and other concerts in the 2004-2005 Music, Gettysburg! schedule, please call 717-334-6286 ext 2100 or visit the new Music, Gettysburg! web site: