A look at Magnificat

Published 4:59 pm Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sonia Larson, Chorus Master

On Sunday, Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. in Knowlton Auditorium one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever composed will be presented by the Austin Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under the baton of Stephen Ramsey.

The piece is John Rutter’s “Magnificat.” The text for Magnificat (My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord) is Luke 1:46-55. It is a poetic outpouring of praise, joy, and trust in God, ascribed by Luke to the Virgin Mary on learning that she was to give birth to the Christ. The unique combination of beautiful melodies, sonorous harmonies and brilliant fanfares are evident throughout this glorious and uplifting work. The music reflects Rutter’s images of people taking to the streets in countries such as Spain and Mexico during the feast days of the Virgin Mary, celebrating with singing, dancing and processions.

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The preparation for this concert has been taking place for weeks. The Symphony Chorus has been practicing Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons at the Congregational Church. It is a truly inter-generational endeavor as volunteers of all walks of life and all ages make up the mass chorus, which, this year will include the Riverland College Choir. During one of the Sunday rehearsals an observer was awed by the gorgeous blend of voices under the direction of brilliant chorus master, Sonia Larson, with the accompaniment of the expert, faithful, rehearsal pianist, Jan Gilbertson.

The Austin Symphony rehearses Monday evenings and is also a group consisting of various ages and walks of life. It is a special joy this year to have thirteen 9th-12th grade students playing in the symphony orchestra as well as a couple of college students. Look for them in the violin, viola, cello, bass, percussion, oboe, and clarinet sections.

Another special treat this concert is the piece “Frosty the Snowman; a Tuba Fantasy”, composed by our own tuba player, Mark Woeste, who will be the featured tuba soloist. Mark lives in Mantorville and teaches music history and music education at Crossroads College in Rochester, Minn.

Besides the “Magnificat” and “Frosty the Snowman; a Tuba Fantasy”: the concert will include:

Blake: Walking in the Air

Holcombe: American Christmas Folk Suite

Oakley: Hosanna in excelsis

Sousa/Pierpont: Jingle Bells Forever, Sing-a-long,

Vocal soloists for “Magnificat” are Nikky Krautbauer, Natalie Bunnell, Pam Koser. Becky Olgivie is vocal soloist in “Walking on Air”. Come be inspired and touched by the musical offerings of your fellow community members.