Pro Musica Singers will present a concert of uplifting, beautiful choral music when they perform at St Francis's church in West End on Sunday 6 November from 4pm.
I have to confess that choral music isn't my specialty -- I'm more a rock'n'roll gal. So when a friend who's in Pro Musica asked me to come along to a rehearsal one night last week, I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew that Pro Musica is a community choir that practises in West End, but that was about it.
When I wandered into St Francis's hall, I saw a group of everyday people getting themselves organised to sing. Older people, younger people -- just a casual get-together in a suburban church hall.
But then Music Director Jane Bernays lifted her arms, and everything changed. Suddenly, they weren't a bunch of individuals, they were a communion of 25 or so voices that floated up and mingled to create ethereal, gorgeous harmonies.
I found out later that the song in question was called Sicut Cervus -- apparently a very famous piece of sacred music by an Italian Renaissance composer called Palestrina. Pro Musica will perform this beautiful song in St Francis's church on the 6th, along with other sacred pieces, including Mozart's sublime Ave Verum Corpus.
The singers will then move from the church down to the hall, where they'll perform some pieces with a more contemporary feel. The program for the 'At Home' concert was chosen from favourite songs nominated by the singers themselves, so it's eclectic and fun. The songs performed in the hall will include a piece by local composer Ian McKinley, as well as an American spiritual, Keep Your Lamps.
If you're not familiar with these pieces, I wouldn't let it worry you. I didn't know any of them when I walked into the hall, and I still found everything that I heard beautiful and accessible.
You can also look forward to a quality performance. The singers are a talented and well-practised group, and Music Director Jane has many years experience conducting and singing.
The concert is a great opportunity for those 'in the know' and those new to choral music to hear a joyous selection of works. It's also a wonderful chance to expose children to something different, with kids welcome.
As I left the rehearsal and strode off into the night, I found myself serenading the moon with a chorus or two of Keep Your Lamps. My head felt clearer and my heart felt lighter than when I'd arrived. Pro Musica had reminded me of the extraordinary power of music -- in all its forms.
Tickets for Pro Musica's 'At Home' Concert are $18 adults, $15 concessions, and a gold-coin donation for school-aged children (up to Year 12). Tickets can be purchased on the door, and the price includes a 'scrumptious afternoon tea' after the show.
The full concert program: Crux Fidelis (John IV of Portugal)
Walk In The Light (George Elderkin, arranged by Thomas Whitfield) Sicut Cervus (Palestrina) Psalm 42 (Andrew Bleckner)
Hosanna to the Son of David (Orlando Gibbons)
Ave Verum Corpus (WA Mozart)
Cantique de Jean Racine (Gabriel Faure)
Daemon Irrepit Callidus (Gyorgy Orban)
Sure on This Shining Night (Samuel Barber)
My Heart Was Wandering / It Is So Long Ago (Ian McKinley)
Sigh No More Ladies / Blow Blow Thou Winter Wind (George Shearing)
Keep Your Lamps (Traditional)
Irish Blessing (Traditional)