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Sunday pick: Coro Piccolo performs Gjeilo at Hope Lutheran Church

Anna Hamre, conductor of the Coro Piccolo ensemble, says her upcoming concert “contains some of the most gorgeous music ever written for voices.” (And, for Hamre, that’s saying a lot. She’s conducted a lot of gorgeous music.) The performance is 3 p.m. Sunday, May 15, at Hope Lutheran Church.

Pictured above: Kirsten Rocha, left, Anne McGrath, Kaylene Clark, Morgan Lari, and Sherah Moore Burdick are members of the new ensemble Altissima.

I can attest to the lush, exhilarating track record of composer Ola Gjeilo. The last time one of Hamre’s ensembles (which are all under the umbrella of the Fresno Community Chorus) performed a Gjeilo piece, I overdosed the next few weeks on his “Sunrise Mass.” I couldn’t get enough. Now the Coro Piccolo will perform two other Gjeilo songs that are new to me, “Dark Night of the Soul” and “Luminous Night of the Soul.”  Gjeilo sets to music texts by Charles Anthony Silvestri and St. John of the Cross. Collaborative pianist Joungmin Sur, soprano Anne Webster and a professional string quartet are featured.

The concert is notable for the debut performance of a new ensemble: Altissima, a small female ensemble. Members are McGrath, Sherah Moore Burdick, Kirsten Rocha, Morgan Lari, and Kaylene Clark. Also performing will be Quintus, the organization’s small male ensemble, featuring Aaron Burdick, Brian Lummis, Michael Gutierrez, Jacob Pasalakis, and Riley Garcia. Quintus has sung together for four and a half years.

Music sung by these ensembles include pieces by Stephen Foster and John Rutter, among others.

Covid-19 stuff: This will be the first opportunity for singers in the Fresno Community Chorus organization to sing without masks for a long time. Though not required for attendance, audience mask wearing is encouraged, as are vaccinations and boosters. All singers must be fully vaccinated (including first booster) to participate.

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Tickets are $20 and are available at the Fresno Community Chorus website.


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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

donaldfresnoarts@gmail.com

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