Organ at Davidson Showcases Davidson Chorale Arts Society
Music of Benjamin Britten will be the attraction on the Feb. 10 concert of Organ at Davidson in a program entitled “To Thee All Angels Cry Aloud.” The Choral Arts Society of Davidson, under the direction of Dr. Chris Gilliam, will sing Festival Te Deum, Rejoice in the Lamb, and Jubilate Deo. The organ accompanist is Jane D. Cain, director of music at Davidson College Presbyterian Church. All of the series concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. at Davidson College Presbyterian Church, 100 N. Main St.
The second portion of the concert features solo organ music by Vierne, Messiaen, and Franck, performed by Tom Robak, artist associate at Davidson College, where he serves as the choral, vocal, and instrumental accompanist for Davidson’s Music Department.
The choral selections offer an unusual opportunity to experience the variety of Britten’s music. Britten continues the line of the great English choral tradition exemplified by Purcell and Handel, and had an immense influence on 20th century music. Rejoice in the Lamb is a setting of a poem by Christopher Smart, in which all manner of creatures praise God in their own way, from flowers to cats and mice to letters of the alphabet. Festival Te Deum begins with the traditional liturgical text in a chant style, later giving way to exuberant declamation.
The Choral Arts Society of Davidson is a community-based ensemble of 80-100 singers, and is a part of the Music Department of Davidson College. The society performs four concerts per year, including the Holiday Gala and major works with orchestra. Director Chris Gilliam is a successful college and university educator and conductor as well as a sought-after solo and ensemble singer.
Polish-American artist Tomasz Robak is a concert pianist, chamber musician, organist, and educator. Through his versatile skills in multiple areas, he continues the age-old European tradition of the “complete musician.” Over the years he has received recognition in several competitions, and is an enthusiastic performer of contemporary music. In 2018 he received a Fulbright award to Poland which allowed him to spend the 2018-19 season at the Szymanowski Academy in Katowice studying the piano music of contemporary Polish composers such as Henryk Górecki and Wojciech Kilar.
Organ at Davidson concerts are free, with donations gratefully received to continue the series.