A weekend of various voices

The Baltimore Sun

A lot of voices are still to be heard before this music season winds down. Choral activity, in particular, is positively rampant this weekend.

The dynamic Maryland State Boychoir, directed by Frank Cimino and Stephen Holmes, will serve as host for the eighth annual Baltimore Boychoir Festival. Ensembles from Maryland and seven other states -- more than 300 boys in all -- will participate.

The festival will close with a public concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Goucher College's Kraushaar Auditorium, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson. Each choir will perform on its own and then join forces for a variety of selections, including spirituals and other traditional favorites. The festival's music director, Z. Randall Stroope, has composed a work that will be premiered on the program.

Tickets are $10 to $15. Call 410-668-2003.

Traditional spirituals will also figure in the season-closing program by the Concert Artists of Baltimore, led by Edward Polochick. The vocal portion of the evening also includes Aaron Copland's colorful Old American Songs and favorites by underrated composer Stephen Foster.

The purely orchestral portion offers Copland's evergreen Appalachian Spring and Camille Saint-Saens' droll Carnival of the Animals.

The performance is at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Gordon Center for Performing Arts, 3506 Gwynnbrook Ave., Owings Mills. Tickets are $20 to $28. Call 410-625-3525 or go to cabalto.org.

Sunday, the combined choirs of University Baptist Church and Grace United Methodist Church, backed by organist Jonathan Moyer, will perform the beautiful, infrequently programmed Four Sacred Pieces by Giuseppe Verdi and the inventive Missa Brevis by Zoltan Kodaly, conducted by Ronald Gretz.

The concert is at 4 p.m. Sunday at Grace United, 5407 N. Charles St. Admission is free. Call 410-433-6650.

To mark the 15th anniversary of the Baltimore-based Steven Kaufman AIDS Outreach Project, an awareness and prevention organization, the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, D.C., will give a concert Sunday afternoon. The group, in its 25th year, will be making its first Baltimore appearance in more than a decade.

The program will feature excerpts from This House Shall Stand: Songs of My Family, a work by composer Robert Seeley and lyricist Robert Espindola that will receive its complete premiere next month at the Kennedy Center. Two a cappella ensembles within the chorus, Potomac Fever and Rock Creek Singers, will perform. Also appearing on the program will be Positive Voices, a Baltimore group whose members are living with HIV and AIDS.

The concert is at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Johns Hopkins University's Shriver Hall, 3400 N. Charles St. Tickets are $45 for general admission, $100 for preferred seating. Proceeds will benefit the Outreach Project. Call 410-369-9253 or go to skaop.org.

Ritz Chamber Players

An unfortunate casualty of February snow was a concert by the Ritz Chamber Players, a remarkable, full-time ensemble of black musicians, at the Baltimore School for the Arts. The concert has been rescheduled for next week.

Violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins, violist Amadi Hummings, cellist Troy Stuart and clarinetist Terrance Patterson from the Ritz group will be joined by three members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra -- concertmaster Jonathan Carney, principal cellist Ilya Finkelshteyn and violist Karin Brown. The program includes two richly melodic works, Brahms' Clarinet Quintet and Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence.

The free concert is at 7 p.m. May 22 at the school, 712 Cathedral St. Call 410-396-1185.


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