July 23, 2022

The Summer Singers of Lee’s Summit will join with a chamber orchestra, comprised largely of members of the Kansas City Symphony, to perform one of the most intrinsically beautiful works in music history, the “Requiem” of French composer, Gabriel Faure, 1845-1924.

Jennifer Lahasky

The chorus and orchestra, joined by distinguished soloists Megan Moore and Joshua Markley, will be led by Jennifer Lahasky, performing in her debut concert as Music Director of the 50-voice community chorus. The program will also include “Procession of the Anointed” for chamber orchestra alone, by Kansas City composer Dr. Geoffrey Wilcken. Choral Intern Emily Fish will conduct Faure’s popular “Cantique de Jean Racine” performed in French and scored for chorus, harp and cello.

Emily Fish

There will be one performance only, Sunday, July 31, 4:00 PM, in the Apostle’s Chapel of the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 416 SE Grand Avenue in historic downtown Lee’s Summit. The concert will be followed by a wine and cookie reception for all in attendance. The performance is sponsored, in part, by a grant from the Lee’s Summit Arts Council. Admission is $25 for all seats, with tickets available at the door or online: ChoralFoundation.org/concerts .

Faure, considered one of the musical giants of French Impressionism, along with Claude Debussy and Marice Ravel, composed his “Requiem” between 1887 and 1890. He made numerous revisions to the work, reaching its final form in about 1900. He wrote of the work: “Everything I managed to by way of religious illusion I put into my Requiem, which moreover is dominated from beginning to end by a very human feeling of faith in eternal rest.” Faure was proud of the work, considering it to be some of his most inspired music. When asked what occasion led him to create the work, he declared, “My “Requiem” wasn’t written for anything – for pleasure, if I may call it that!” The composer conducted the premier in Paris at La Madeleine.

“Cantique de Jean Racine” is a beloved work performed by professional, university and church choirs around the world and often paired with the “Requiem.” Faure composed the setting in 1865 when he was but 20 years old. The text is a religious verse by French dramatist Jean Racine, 1639-1699.

Lawrence, Kansas, resident Dr. Geoffrey Wilcken is growing in reputation as a composer. He is Music Director of Songflower Chorale in Kansas and is Principal Organist for the historic St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. His works have been performed and/or recorded by elite choirs across the region, including the Kansas City Symphony Chorus and the William Baker Festival Singers.

The Summer Singers of Lee’s Summit, an ensemble of the Choral Foundation, was created in 2014 as a non-auditioned, summer-only chorus devoted to annual performances of a choral-orchestral masterwork. Part performances have included Mozart’s “Requiem,” “Haydn’s “The Creation.” and Schubert’s “Mass in G,” among many others. Jennifer Lahasky joined the Summer Singers as a chorus member upon her graduation from Washburn University. She served for a season as Choral Intern, and then for five seasons as Associate Music Director. When the founding director, William Baker, stepped aside, he did not hesitate to appoint his protege to the post of Music Director. He said, “I honestly never remotely considered anyone else. Jennifer Lahasky is an exceptionally talented young music leader. She will lead the Summer Singers of Lee’s Summit to many great accomplishments in the years to come.”

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