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Canoni Chorale: Back to Brooklyn
by Nancy Wright for Vocal Area Network
Posted May 20, 2008

The Canoni Chorale, under the direction of Donald Barnum, will present a concert entitled "Liturgical Musical Masterpieces and More" on Sunday, June 8, 2008, at 5 PM at historic Christ Church Cobble Hill, 326 Clinton Street, at the intersection of Clinton and Kane Streets in Brooklyn.

The Canoni Chorale, which made its debut performance at Avery Fisher Hall on December 3, 2007 performing Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri ("Rossini, but not only...") with both Eastern and Western orchestras for UNESCO's Melody for Peace, also presented music in December 2007, first at St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church in midtown Manhattan for the church's 150th Anniversary Mass with Cardinal Egan, subsequently on Christmas Eve at Christ Church, Cobble Hill, and again just this past month as the chorus for Puccini's Turandot in Stamford, Connecticut for the Connecticut Grand Opera.

The group is an outgrowth of the choir of St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church, Brooklyn Heights, which toured England in 1999 and Canada in 2003 and 2004. Also in 2003 and 2004 members of the Chorale performed benefit concerts in St. George's, the capital of Grenada, for a major hospital on the island.  They repeated the last concert in November 2004 at St. Charles Borromeo Church, after much of Grenada was devastated by Hurricane Ivan. The Canoni Chorale rehearses in Cobble Hill on Thursday nights.

The Chorale will present several liturgical masterpieces for double choir, including Gregorio Allegri's Miserere Mei Deus, Franz Biebl's Ave Maria (transcribed by Fenno Heath), Benjamin Britten's Hymn to the Virgin, William Harris's Bring Us, Lord God, and John Stainer's I Saw the Lord. Also featured will be pieces by contemporary composers, including settings of the Prayer of St. Francis by Andriy Legkyy and Georgianna Askoff.  Legkyy, who also sings with the Chorale, composed his setting for the former Choir of St. Charles Borromeo Church, and composer Askoff, who is a mezzo-soprano and pianist, will sing and accompany premiere performances of her works.

In addition to the broad liturgical representation, the concert will include solo performances by emerging artists, including Danielle Messina, and Brooklyn's own Carolyn McGuigan, as well as two countertenors, Philip Koch, veteran international star of Grand Scena Opera Company, and Steven LaPlante. Other soloists include Leo Paolo Leal, formerly of the Philippine Madrigal Ensemble, who just sang for the Pope during his last visit to New York, Don Yule of New York City Opera, and Nancy Wright.

Conductor and dramatic baritone Donald Barnum, originally from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is a long-time member of the Metropolitan Opera and former Organist and Director of Music at St. Charles Borromeo Church, where he actively preserved the church's 1880, thirty-six rank Odell tracker-action organ.  In October 2004 Barnum released In Perfect Peace: A Brooklyn Pastorale, featuring liturgical music with the organ by the former St. Charles Borromeo Choir. Barnum served as chorus master for the Schola Hebraeica and prepared the New York Jewish Choral Ensemble for concerts at Lincoln Center and throughout the eastern United States, as well as for their debut at Royal Festival Hall, London. He is former dean and current active member of the Brooklyn chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

Historic Christ Church Cobble Hill, located in the Fourth Ward of Brooklyn, was organized on May 18, 1835, one year after the incorporation of Brooklyn as a city, as Brooklyn's fourth Episcopal congregation. The current building was consecrated in 1842, and the interior was renovated and decorated in 1916 by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Rebuilt after a fire in 1939, the building was accorded landmark status in 1969 by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. More information about the church is available at www.christchurchcobblehill.org.

A wine and cheese reception in the rectory will follow the concert. Tickets are $20; $10 for seniors and students. For more information, call 212-799-6944 or the Christ Church office at 718-624-0083.

Nancy Wright sings with the Canoni Chorale.

Content Contact: Nancy Wright.
Revision Date: May 20, 2008.
Technical Contact: Steve Friedman.

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