On Wednesday, January 1, 2020, the Virginia Schiller Institute Community Chorus and friends, hosted their largest ever New Year’s Concert featuring timeless choral pieces from Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Verdi, and Dvorak.
Our concerts are becoming a growing institution in the area, not just for audience members, but for local musicians who like performing with us. A talented violinist, who is a regular on the “classical music scene” in DC/Northern Virginia, remarked that he always appreciates the openness of our audiences, seeing “normal” people genuinely appreciating the beauty of the pieces, as opposed to the “professional audiences” he so often performs for, who are more concerned with “being seen” at such events, than letting the music move them.
The audience was full and diverse. Choral directors from churches across the area came to hear the concert, political contacts of the Schiller Institute attended, including an Ambassador and his family from a Southeast Asian country, music students, and others who ventured out to find something different than watch football on New Year’s Day!
The program of the event is below. Audience members were given the text and translations for each of the pieces to follow along.
Beethoven, Die Ehre Gottes aus der Natur
Haydn, Die Himmel Erzälen, from The Creation
Brahms, Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen, from German Requiem
Bach, Quia Respexit, Omnes generationes
Handel, Ombra mai fu, tenor, Reginald Bouknight
Puccini, Recondita armonia, from Tosca, tenor, Reginald Bouknight
Mozart, In uomini, in soldati, from Così fan tutte, mezzo, Pamela Butler
Beethoven, Harp String Quartet, op. 74 (1809), I. Poco adagio – Allegro
Beethoven, Serenade, op. 25 (1796), VI. Adagio – Allegro vivace e disinvolta
Kreisler, Praeludium and Allegro (1905)
Mozart, Laudate Pueri, from Solemn Vespers
Verdi, Va Pensiero, from Nabucco
Dvorak/Fisher, Goin’ Home
Hall Johnson, Lord, I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired
Handel, Worth is the Lamb, Amen, from The Messiah
Joy to the World, Everyone sing!
The fact that these were seemingly “ordinary” people from the community performing these masterful pieces in a local church was not lost on the audience. In fact, it seemed to enrich the event for people, many who then asked themselves, “well, maybe I could sing?”
The other remarkable part of the this and other concerts the Schiller Institute hosts, was articulated best by our director, Mike Billington in remarks he made on a LaRouchePAC Fireside Chat broadcast,
“It was a concert of Beethoven, Brahms, and other great Classical choruses, with some wonderful professionals, who volunteer their time to come and play with us, because they love to work with us because of our commitment to the idea of the aesthetic education of the population. The fact that this many people from all walks of life showed up in Leesburg, Virginia to watch a Schiller Institute Community Chorus concert, I think in itself reflects the transformation that’s taken place in the United States; and the potential of the LaRouche message — the slanders and the attacks that characterized the treatment of LaRouche over these years, including his incarceration, is no longer believed.”