An experience of profound intensity for musicians and audience alike! InConcert Sierra’s “Third Sunday Virtual Season” presents the Sierra Master Chorale and Orchestra’s stirring May 2012 performance of “The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace,” on Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 2pm.
The 75-member choir, and 26-member orchestra including renowned organist Isabelle Demers, is conducted by ICS Artistic Director Ken Hardin. The SMC and Orchestra presented the work in both 2012 and 2016 before sold-out audiences. Jenkins’ “A Mass for Peace” was composed in 1999 and dedicated to the victims of Kosovo. It was commissioned by the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England, to reflect the most war-torn and destructive century in human history, honor the warrior, and inspire the optimism of “ringing in a thousand years of peace.” The work seeks to bridge the many perspectives of war while acknowledging the hope in every human heart for peace in our lifetime.
The work begins with sequential marching, creating an effective and realistic impression of troops approaching, with choristers swaying from side to side. From there, the audience is mesmerized by extracts from Christian and Islamic traditional texts, as well as texts from authors Rudyard Kipling, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Sankichi Toge (a Hiroshima survivor). One concert-goer said, “I could have heard the Benedictus music daily for the rest of my life, so very beautiful.”
After attending the concert in May 2016, Dr. Scott Kellerman wrote in a letter to The Union, “This emotional and spiritual concert kindles the emotions of war and the aftermath of destruction. A variety of religious traditions, poems, and poetry are intricately woven through the melodies. Looking around the audience, appreciating the diversity of political convictions present, I was struck by a community coming together, all equally absorbed by the music, prose and inner intention to promote peace.”
In 2012, concert attendee J. Wood said, “The performance was breathtaking and nothing short of magnificent! It was truly a visceral experience! So emotional. Our hearts were stirred. Please do this annually. The community and the world need this message so desperately.”
The poetry and translations are available for viewing and download on the ICS website (click on the homepage banner.) Virtual concert attendees are encouraged to read the lyrics before the program, although enjoyment of the sheer power of the piece does not require it.
”Obviously, in 2012 we were not expecting to someday provide virtual programming, nor that we would face a global pandemic with live performances halted. The original video was not of high-quality. However, our fantastic videographer and magician, Mark Triolo, has taken the footage, along with a variety of photos from performances, and created a visual presentation that will captivate us all. And the audio is fantastic, with many thanks to our sound engineer, Steve Nicholson,” said Executive Director Julie Hardin.
The concert may be viewed online at www.inconcertsierra.org, on the InConcert Sierra Facebook page, or the InConcert Sierra YouTube channel. It will remain available on YouTube for three weeks.
Content and photos provided by Julie Hardin, InConcert Sierra