The Susquehanna Valley Chorale (SVC) will present Karl Jenkins’ The Peacemakers on Sunday, March 17 at 3 p.m. at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts at Bucknell University. The family-friendly performance will be 75 minutes with no intermission and will feature the Susquehanna Valley Youth Chorale throughout the performance.
There will be a free pre-concert lecture by Fiona Powell, WVIA-FM producer, editor and on-air host from 2:15-2:45 p.m. at the Weis Center. In addition to her responsibilities at WVIA, Fiona is a respected folklorist and storyteller with over 20 years of experience and is on the roster of artists for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.
William Payn serves as Conductor and Music Director of the SVC. The SVYC is under the direction of Director Coleen Renshaw.
Sponsors for the performance include Patricia McDowell and Walnut Acres Foundation, Co-sponsors are Woodcock Foundation for the Appreciation of the Arts and Underwriters are Karen and Bill Black, Caryn and Skip Powers, Cheryl Stayton and Brad Miller.
Karl Jenkins’ The Peacemakers is a work extolling peace with texts by iconic figures that have shaped history and who were messengers of peace: Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Albert Schweitzer, Martin Luther King, and Anne Frank among others.
Jenkins says of the work, “The Peacemakers is dedicated to the memory of all those who lost their lives during armed conflict: in particular, innocent civilians. When I composed The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace for the millennium, it was with the hope of looking forward to a century of peace. Sadly, nothing much has changed.”
Karl Jenkins was born in 1939 and raised in the village of Penclawdd on the south Wales seacoast. In the late 1960s, while pursuing a postgraduate degree at the Royal Academy of Music, Jenkins fell in with the London jazz scene, playing saxophone, keyboards, and oboe with the jazz-rock band Nucleus and leading the progressive rock band Soft Machine for most of the 1970s. In the 1980s and ‘90s, Jenkins was a highly successful composer of music for advertisements, twice winning the British award for Design and Art Direction.
The Peacemakers may well be Jenkins’ most ambitious work. Its texts are taken from men and women from around the world–including the famous and the relatively obscure–and the score, as in the composer’s earlier works, references a variety of musical cultures, popular styles, and the classical music of earlier centuries.
Part One opens with a movement that overlays the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount–Blessed are the peacemakers–with the word peace in Hebrew, Hindi, and Arabic.
Part Two, Fiat pax in virtute tua, the Latin form of Psalm 122, is framed with quotes from Mother Teresa, a Catholic nun who served the destitute in Calcutta during the second half of the 20th century, and Albert Schweitzer, a Lutheran physician, theologian and musicologist who, in 1912, established a hospital in what was then known as French Equatorial Africa. There is an Elgarian grandeur at the beginning of the finale, Peace, Triumphant Peace, in striking contrast to the Youth Chorale singing–as if from afar–the poignant words of Anne Frank: How wonderful it is that no-one need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
Tickets for the performance are $20 for adults and $8 for students. Youth under the age of 12 are free.
Tickets must be purchased from the Bucknell University Campus Box Office. SVC Subscribers may exchange “freestyle” season tickets for Weis Center – issued tickets any time before the concert or on the day of the concert.
To order tickets, call the Campus Box Office at 570-577-1000 (Monday-Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.), order online athttps://bucknell.universitytickets.com or visit their Weis Center location.
For more information about the SVC or Youth Chorale, please visit SVCMusic.org.
(Information from Lisa Leighton)