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Thursday, July 24, 2014
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Preparing for Friday’s Mozart concert are, front row from left, Ava Brown, Marlene Mullenix, organist, and Lamar Robertson. Back row from left are George Hutchinson, Abbie Fletcher and Bret Smithey, director. (Special to the American Press)

Preparing for Friday’s Mozart concert are, front row from left, Ava Brown, Marlene Mullenix, organist, and Lamar Robertson. Back row from left are George Hutchinson, Abbie Fletcher and Bret Smithey, director. (Special to the American Press)

First UMC choir to present Mozart's Requiem in D minor

Last Modified: Thursday, April 17, 2014 5:41 PM

By Alex Onken / American Press

The First United Methodist Church chancel choir will present Mozart’s Requiem in D minor at 7 p.m. Friday, April 18, in a free concert.

“I think it will appeal to anyone with an ear. It’s very accessible music,” said Bret Smithey, the director of the program and the director of music ministries at First United Methodist Church.

“Parts of it have been in multiple movies over the years. There are some really famous excerpts out ofthis piece.”

Requiem in D minor was Mozart’s last work and was unfinished at the time of his death. It was later finished by other composers at the request of his wife, Constanze. Traditionally, a requiem is a funeral Mass and ranges in emotion.

“It’s grand, complex, delicate at times,” Smithey said. “There are moments of fury and power. The ‘dies irae,’ which is the day of wrath, about the judgment day, is full of brass and timpani.”

The chancel choir has been rehearsing for weeks over several Saturdays for sometimes three and four hours at a time. This certain piece attracted other community singers as well as McNeese students.

“It’s such a well loved piece that when people hear you’re performing it, I get phone calls with people asking, ‘can I come sing too?’ which is a great thing.” Smithey said.

Four guest soloists Rebecca Kramer, Ben Klaus, Jess Koehn and Rachel Abbate will be featured in the program. Music will be provided by an orchestra made up from McNeese students and alums as well as other local performers.

Previously performing in this piece, Smithey, now having the chance to direct it is an entirely different experience.

“It’s a little intimidating, at first, to tackle a piece this big. I haven’t done it as a singer since ‘92, so it’s been a while since I looked at it seriously. It is such a benchmark piece in the repertoire.”


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