Two groups, four soloists, one concert

The Erie Chamber Orchestra is preparing for the Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass concert.

The concert, which will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, will feature not only the Erie Chamber Orchestra, but also the voices of the Slippery Rock University Choir.

Steve Weiser, general manager of the Erie Chamber Orchestra, said the ECO has collaborated with other choral groups in the past, but this is the orchestra’s first time performing with the Slippery Rock choir.

He said the orchestra’s conductor, Matthew Kraemer, has worked with the choir in Butler in the past and always spoke highly of it.

In the rehearsal process, Kraemer has made a couple of trips down to Slippery Rock to work with the chorus.

“This collaboration is a good way to rebuild the image of the chamber orchestra,” Weiser said. “It will help us to establish a new relationship, bring a new audience and attract more people from the Slippery Rock area.”

Weiser said the chamber orchestra and the choir will rehearse together for the first time the day before the concert.

He describes the concert as one of the pillars of the classical musical repertoire. It will feature music from Haydn as well as Mozart’s symphony 41 and will feature four vocal soloists. The concert should last somewhere between 90 minutes and two hours.

Weiser said the four vocal soloists – Shannon Kessler Dooley, Katherine Drago, Robert Frankenberry and John Dooley – are all professional musicians from the Pittsburgh Opera.

Kessler Dooley will sing the soprano part and Drago will cover alto while Frankenberry mixes in the tenor part and John Dooley covers bass.

This is the first time the chamber orchestra has performed with professional soloists and the 70-person choir will help to create a stronger sound to support the soloists.

Weiser said he thinks it will be a neat experience working with a new singing ensemble that has a new choral director.

He added that he is eager to build a partnership with this group and that the chamber orchestra plans to organize some other collaborations with the choir in years to come.

The ECO is already planning to do some sort of concert with the choral group next season maybe around Christmas, he said.

“We’re definitely looking to make this a long-term collaboration,” Weiser said.

Compared to the ECO’s concert in October, which only featured 16 musicians, Weiser said this concert will have more than 100.

Weiser said he thinks students will be attracted to this concert not only because it’s free, but because it gives them an opportunity to see students their age perform.

“It’s not often that college students get the opportunity to perform with a chamber orchestra and professional vocalists,” Weiser said.

The Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass will take place at 7 p.m. Friday at the First United Methodist Church of the Covenant at 250 W. Seventh St. Admission is free.




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