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Davidson College Choirs Travel the World with “Jubilate Deo”

by | Apr 15, 2018 | Arts & Entertainment, Davidson Chorale Arts Society

Dan Forrest, composer of “Jubilate Deo.”


Choral music often is soothing, with familiar chords and gentle rhythms. And sometimes, particularly with the work of composer Dan Forrest, you need to fasten your seat belt.

The Choral Arts Society of Davidson and the Davidson College Choirs will present Forrest’s Jubilate Deo on May 6, bringing new meaning to the words of Psalm 100: “O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands.” They will sing in seven different languages and draw on a wide range of music cultures. Singers will present movements that include Hebrew, Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Zulu, Spanish, traditional Latin, and even some English.

While there will be translations in the program, “Forrest’s imaginative choral writing and instrumental scoring help to bring the music to life in a way that one almost needs no written translation to understand the text being sung,” said Davidson Choral-Director Dr. Chris Gilliam.

Gilliam and Forrest first met as undergraduates, and both earned doctorates at the University of Kansas, though a couple of years apart.

“We have stayed in touch throughout the years,” Gilliam said, “and I’ve enjoyed seeing Dan’s career and reputation flourish. He is truly an international phenom in the choral world.”

The May concert will be held at the Duke Family Performance Hall on the Davidson campus and will feature a full orchestra. When Gilliam conducted the Winston-Salem Symphony Chorale in a Jubilate Deo last fall, the performance was in a large church whose performance area could only accommodate a chamber orchestra. While it was sold-out and acclaimed, it was on a smaller scale.

“We have room for more than 150 singers and full orchestra forces,” Gilliam said. “Not only that, but we will have Dan Forrest here helping us put it all together.”

Forrest will lead a private workshop on Jubilate Deo for the Davidson College Choirs and the Choral Arts Society of Davidson, and also work separately with the Davidson College Chorale on another of his works: Entreat me not to leave you.

“We are looking forward to the insights he will bring to our understanding and performance of his works.” Gilliam said. “I know that our choristers are eager and thrilled to have the opportunity to meet him. Dan is one of the most well-known living choral composers — there are few choral musicians, if any, who haven’t either heard of Dan or who haven’t sung one of his compositions.”

The May 6 concert program begins at 3:00 PM. For tickets, please contact the Union Box Office at 704-894-2135 or purchase online. Tickets also are available at the door. Ticket prices range from $5 for Davidson students to $25 for general admission.

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