Hickory Choral Society members join in an international performance of Jonathon Willcocks’ work “A Great and Glorious Victory”
This preview has been provided by the Hickory Choral Society.
With the lyrics “…Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today…I want to be a part of it, New York, New York…” swirling in their heads, 28 singers, part of the 115 voice Hickory Choral Society, boarded their plane and flew to New York City for a choral adventure. On Sunday evening, January 20 the singers joined the voices of 230 other choristers from the United Kingdom, California, Wisconsin, Alabama and South Carolina for a performance of British composer/conductor Jonathon Willcocks’ work entitled A Great and Glorious Victory. Performed in historic Carnegie Hall, accompanied by a full orchestra, the 35 minute piece was enthusiastically received. The concert was part of a series of concerts at Carnegie Hall entitled “Sounds of War and Peace”.
The commitment from all to perform the work to the Willcocks’ standards was evident during the eight hours of rehearsal in which the director skillfully displayed his conducting gifts to help the choristers understand not only the score, but the true story that inspired him to compose the very difficult choral and orchestral music. The work, “A Great and Glorious Victory,” was commissioned by the Portsmith Choral Union to mark the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar in October 2005. Lord Horatio Nelson, Britain’s greatest naval captain lost his life during the great battle at sea between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets from the Spanish Navy and French Navy. Things took a sudden turn when a “perfect storm,” a hurricane, arose and found the foes becoming each others’ saviors. As high waves threw the crew overboard the opposing forces began saving each other from the turbulent waters that threatened to swallow them. This piece seeks not only to celebrate the events that ensured lasting fame for Lord Nelson but also the ultimate victory for humanity in the face of the greater forces of nature. The music is written in such a way that the listener visualizes the horrors of war and the sounds of peace.
The Hickory Choral Society has performed many of the choral works composed by Willcocks. In March 1995 Maestro Willcocks came to Hickory as the guest conductor for a performance of his work Great is the Glory. Then in 1997 HCS flew to England to perform in concert with the Portsmouth Choral Union, of which Willcocks was conductor. In June 2000 the Portsmouth Choral Union reciprocated with a visit to Hickory for a combined choir concert.
During their four day stay in the “city that never sleeps”, singers attended rehearsals, enjoyed Broadway shows, dined at various restaurants and delis, and visited many of the famous sites. Each singer paid their individual expenses, and from the many comments from each, it was well worth the cost.
This year the Hickory Choral Society marks its 35th anniversary. The season will include the Spring Concert on March 24, 2013 at First Baptist Church, Hickory.
Since the spring of 1978, the Hickory Choral Society has continued to delight audiences with excellent choral music literature. Each year, the Hickory Choral Society provides local music lovers with a series of exciting and well-attended concerts. The all-volunteer group, made up of 110 singers from Catawba and surrounding counties, is well known throughout North Carolina for its annual Christmas Concerts at Corinth Reformed Church in Hickory. They have also been noted for numerous concerts, including performances with the North Carolina Symphony; a concert at Lincoln Center in New York; and a trip that included concerts in Portsmouth and London, England and Edinburgh, Scotland. The 2003 Christmas Concert was broadcast live statewide over UNC-TV and has continued to be rebroadcast. In May 2010 the Hickory Choral Society was honored to be part of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC.
The concerts are free and open to the public. For membership and other information, call the Hickory Choral Society office at 828-322-2210. A special invitation is extended to the public to attend the Spring Concert - a tradition with audiences in the Catawba Valley. This concert offers something for everyoe. The Hickory Choral Society is a funded affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County.
Hickory Choral Society
243 3rd Avenue NE, Suite 2-N
Hickory, NC 28601