This year's program includes choral works representing more than 400 years of choral literature, from "O magnum mysterium" by the 16th-century composer Tomas de Victoria to a Christmas lullaby written in 2008. The featured work on the program is the motet for double choir, "Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf," ("The Spirit also helps us") with the choir dividing into two separate choirs.
For the past 10 years Busarow has programmed works from the Russian Orthodox Church. His father was born in Lithuania, and his mother was born in Russia. As a first-generation American, Busarow is deeply interested in music that represents his heritage, and two such works are included in this year's program.
"Our programs are unique, in my opinion," Busarow said. "I look for some music that will reach everyone in the audience at some point in the concert."
The second half of the concert opens with the men in the choir in procession singing "The Prayer of the Children," written with children in mind who are living in war-torn parts of the world, homeless, orphaned and struggling to survive each day. Four British poets are represented in the concert — choral works written on poems by Mary Coleridge, Alfred Tennyson, William Blake and Robert Herrick. Two of these works are written for choir and oboe.
Of the 49 current choir members, 10 seniors have been with the choir throughout their four years at Wittenberg, which Busarow said is a remarkable achievement. Earning a position in the choir for one year is no guarantee of a permanent place. Annual auditions take place, and members are selected on the basis of voice quality, vocal range and music skills. Every academic department on campus is represented in the choir. Just 12 members are music majors.
The choir has performed throughout the United States and has even traveled internationally in the past. Busarow takes pride in rigorous preparations that allow the choir to perform at its very best, as it did in November 2007 at historic Severance Hall in Cleveland. In its history, the Wittenberg Choir has earned positive reviews from critics across the United States and in Canada, Latin America, Europe and Russia.
Written By: Ryan Maurer
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