Choir and brass to host concert

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By Special to the Monitor

The Los Alamos Choral Society, along with the Los Alamos Brass, will present a summer concert at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.

“The Splendor of Chorus and Brass” will feature sacred and secular works from J. S. Bach, Anton Bruckner, Giovanni Gabrieli, Johannes Brahms, John Rutter, M. L. Place Badarack. Mary Lynn Place Badarak will direct the concert. Additional accompanists are Cindy Little on piano and Frances Meier on organ. Tickets are available at Brownell’s Hallmark and at the door. Prices are $15 for general admission and seniors, and students will be admitted for free.

In sacred music, brass accompaniment predates the use of organ or keyboard; customarily, brass players simply played along on the vocal parts. In the 19th and 20th centuries, as choruses became a fixture in the concert hall as well as in the church, and as brass instruments developed chromatic capabilities, composers began to discover a wealth of styles and effects with this combination.

This program traces the history of this great collaboration - from the motets of Giovanni Gabrieli written 400 years ago for the Basilica of St. Mark in Venice to the stately memorial cantata of J. S. Bach, which includes parts from two long-forgotten natural trumpets called lituus to the brilliant and ever popular “Gloria” by the 20th Century British Composer John Rutter.

Local interest in choral singing can trace its origins to the early days of the Manhattan Project when Donald Flanders invited friends into his home to participate in madrigal singing as a diversion from hectic wartime work.

When neighbors complained of the “din produced by the enthusiastic group,” they moved to the old nursery school and there the Los Alamos Choral Society was born, according to the organization’s archives.

Since December 1944, there have been more than 125 local performances in addition to three international concert tours. Over the years, the society lists 15 directors, many of whom still reside in Los Alamos County. Currently, the choir is under the direction of Place Badarak.

This is Place Badarak’s second season as director of the Los Alamos Choral Society. In the summer of 2003, Place Badarak moved to the high desert of New Mexico near Santa Fe to compose. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in composition at the University of California, Riverside, and her doctorate in music theory is from Northwestern University.

Currently, Place Badarak is artistic director for Santa Fe Music Works. As a composer, Place Badarak’s works have won awards and debuted in recitals at Carnegie Hall.

Her choral works are published by G. Schirmer, Hal Leonard Publications and Walton Music and are performed by community choruses and church, and school choirs worldwide.

The summer 2008 concert includes works by M. L. P. Badarak including the opening brass fanfare.

Little, piano, is rehearsal accompanist for the Choral Society. She received her bachelor’s of music in piano performance from Arizona State University at Tempe. In Los Alamos, she studied with her mother, Gail, and continued with Frances Naffziger and Sara Beene.

Los Alamos Brass includes Joe Holland, Bruce Letellier and Dave Korzekwa, trumpet; David Rogers, horn; Jerry Morzinski, Jan Gaynor and Phil Jones, trombone; and Kip Bishofberger, tympani.