Bluegrass Mass Goes to Carnegie Hall

Image634961675658101507In less than a week Monroe Crossing will headline at Carnegie Hall as part of a bluegrass extravaganza featuring 300+ voices!

The band performs in A World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass as well as in a series of new bluegrass accompaniments to inspiring American choral works.

Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) presents an exhilarating evening of bluegrass music with a festival chorus of 300 singers on Monday, February 18 at 7:00pm at Carnegie Hall.

Taking place on President’s Day, the concert will feature The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass by Carol Barnett, a uniquely thrilling work combining the solemnity of a classical choir-based Mass with the sparkling down home sound of banjo, mandolin and fiddle. In addition, all-new, improvisatory bluegrass accompaniments will deepen and enliven a selection of choral works by Joseph Martin and Pepper Choplin. Special guests, joining the Distinguished Concerts Singers International—comprised of 18 choirs hailing from across the US, Canada and Ireland—are the acclaimed bluegrass band Monroe Crossing.

While bluegrass music and a church mass might seem like an unlikely pairing, composer Carol Barnett, in writing the work, recalled the country music with a church flavor that she heard a child. “My highest hope,” says Barnett, “is that listeners coming from one tradition—classical or bluegrass—and perhaps dubious about the other might discover something new and wonderful in the combination, as I have.” Bluegrass bandMonroe Crossing lent their expertise to the Mass’ creation and, since premiering it in 2007, have performed the work over thirty times across the country. Nancy Menk, Chair in Music at Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana, is Guest Conductor.

The concert will also present the debut of an exciting collaboration between composers Joseph Martin and Pepper Choplin and Monroe Crossingwho will inject bluegrass style and infectious energy into a series of the composers’ choral works. Martin and Pepper, each of whom will conduct at the concert, chose pieces with early American, gospel or folk elements for the band to accompany, who will improvise and decorate the songs in their own fresh style. Highlights include Choplin’s “Sing Shout Praise,” set for folk instruments and infused with earthy rhythms and primal folk harmonies, and Martin’s “Great, Great Morning,” a menagerie of spirituals and gospel songs overflowing with rustic energy.

Named in honor of Bill Monroe, "The Father of Bluegrass Music," Monroe Crossing dazzles audiences with an electrifying blend of classic bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, and heartfelt originals. Their airtight harmonies, razor sharp arrangements, and on-stage rapport make them audience favorites across the United States and Canada.  Based in Minnesota, the group plays an average of 125 shows a year at major venues and festivals. Monroe Crossing’s twelve recordings include The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass on the Clarion label. Minneapolis Star-Tribunepraises the group’s “formality and jubilance well balanced in this life-affirming celebration.”

Joseph Martin’s compositions — with over 1,000 currently in print —are frequently heard in such diverse locations as Carnegie Hall, the Lawrence Welk Theatre in Branson, Missouri, and hundreds of worship services across the US and Canada. Mr. Martin is also often heard in concert and on recordings as a solo pianist.

Composer, conductor and humorist Pepper Choplin is one of the most creative writers in church music today. Minister of Music at Greystone Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, his published work includes over two hundred anthems for church and school choir, ten church cantatas and one book of piano compositions. Since 1991, his choral music has sold several million copies.

Founded by Iris Derke (General Director) and Jonathan Griffith (Artistic Director and Principal Conductor) Distinguished Concerts International is driven by passion, innovative vision, a total belief in its artists, and unwavering commitment to bringing forth unforgettable audience experiences. DCINY is a creative producing entity with unmatched integrity that is a talent incubator, a star-maker, and a presenter of broadly accessible, world-class musical entertainment.

TICKETS: www.carnegiehall.org or 212-247-7800 or in person at the Carnegie Hall Box Office


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