For Veteran’s Day Weekend and commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, Camerata California Chamber Choir and the VITA Chamber Orchestra bring the program that played to critical acclaim in Sacramento last Memorial Day at three historic northern California locations.
“Let Freedom Ring” featuring music and poetry about America’s 16th President will be performed on Saturday, Nov. 9 at Edwin Markham School, 2800 Moulton Drive in Placerville, on Sunday, Nov. 10 at the Lincoln Theater of the California Veteran’s Home in Yountville and on Monday, Nov. 11 in the Veteran’s Hall in Grass Valley.
VITA and Camerata music director and conductor, Pete Nowlen programmed the multi-faceted concert with the idea of reviving some American masterpieces about Lincoln, as well, as presenting classic pieces. Included are “The Lincoln Lyrics,” “Toward the Unknown Region,” “Words of Lincoln,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “America the Beautiful.”
“The Lincoln Lyrics” by composer George Frederick McKay, and poet Edwin Markham, is a choral cantata depicting scenes from the life of Lincoln, and includes some of the most charming Americana ever composed.
Popular in the 1940s, it faded from the repertoire during the experimentalist ’50s and ’60s. No recording of this American masterpiece exists and last May’s performance was the first in some 60 years.
The piece is built on the ode “Lincoln Lyrics” by Edwin Markham, who attended college in Vacaville, taught school in Placerville and the Bay Area and served as superintendent of schools for El Dorado County in the 1870s before acquiring acclaim as the poet of “The Man and the Hoe” and “Lincoln, Man of the People,” which was selected to be read at the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial.
“Toward the Unknown Region” by composer Ralph Vaughan Williams and poet Walt Whitman, is Vaughan Williams’ lush and evocative setting of Whitman’s Civil War era poem “Darest Thou Now O Soul” which catapulted the composer to prominence. The Whitman poem, published in “Leaves of Grass,” contemplates the soul’s journey upon death — as did much of his work following his service as a nurse during the Civil War.
“Words of Lincoln” by composer Earlene Rentz, who set words of Abraham Lincoln to music, has some of Lincoln’s most stirring words — including excerpts from the Gettysburg Address, whose 150th anniversary is celebrated this month.
The concert concludes with two patriotic favorites,”Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “America the Beautiful” and allows an opportunity for audience singalong, followed by the sounding of Taps and the retiring of the Colors.
“The concert is a beautiful coming together of the Sacramento musical community to celebrate one of America’s truly great historic figures on an historic occasion,” said Nowlen.
The performance at Edwin Markham Middle School is at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The performance at Lincoln Theater, 100 California Drive in Yountville, is at 2 p.m. on Sunday and the Monday performance will be at 4 p.m. at the Grass Valley Veterans Memorial Building, 255 South Auburn Street in Grass Valley.
Tickets for each performance are $10 to $30. For more information or to purchase tickets online, log onto cameratacalifornia.org. If ticket price is an obstacle to attendance, please contact us at mailto:info@VITAAcademy.org. A limited number of free tickets are available for uniformed active military and children under 18.