Choral society getting ready for 'Requiem'


November 03, 1997|By Lisa Breslin | Lisa Breslin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE CARROLL County Choral Society has been practicing Verdi's "Requiem" for months. Or was that the Choral Arts Society of Carroll County? Choral Society, Choral Arts Society -- the names are almost identical, but the music each group performs is vastly different.

The Carroll County Choral Society, which meets Tuesday nights at Westminster High School, performs popular tunes such as "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" and "Satin Doll."

The Choral Arts Society of Carroll County, which practices from 3 p.m. to 5: 15 p.m. Sundays at Westminster United Methodist Church, performs works by such masters as Beethoven, Handel and Bach -- from baroque to 20th-century music.

No chance you'll hear this group perform "The Sound of Music."

To set the record straight, Verdi's "Requiem" will be performed by the Choral Arts Society of Carroll County at 3 p.m. Sunday in Big Baker Chapel at Western Maryland College. The Georgetown University Concert Choir and Orchestra also will perform. As many as 160 people will be singing, accompanied by an 80-piece orchestra.

These two groups often sing as a package deal, under the direction of director Patricia Sparti -- an energetic woman whose passion for music and performance kindles the groups' success.

"I love the enthusiasm of the conductor. She knows the music and history of these musical scores," said Paul Maxey, president of the group and a member for 13 years. "Patricia keeps emphasizing Verdi's operatic quality and all the Italian emotions. She reminds us of his fear of the day of wrath and his wonderful excitement about the piece."

Verdi's "Requiem" is regarded by many as the ultimate masterpiece, Verdi's greatest work, Sparti said.

It has a history of being performed in special circumstances. During World War II, it was performed in concentration camps.

Sunday's program will be dedicated to those who have fought for freedom and democracy, to the memory of those who have died, and as a reminder of the Holocaust and discrimination and intolerance that should never again be allowed.

Sunday's concert also launches the group's 20th anniversary celebration.

Members are banking on some big changes this year, including the group's name. The group has about 50 members and hopes to recruit more.

"This is our year of rebirth," said Sparti. "The Choral Arts Society of Carroll County is really a hidden treasure. There are a lot of people who don't know we exist, or they think we are the other group. That is why we are thinking about a name change."

In addition to directing CAS, Sparti is music director of the Georgetown University Concert Choir and Orchestra of Washington and the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions Chorus in Baltimore.

She zips from Baltimore to Westminster to Washington, and tries to combine the groups once a year so members can sing the large masterpieces they cherish.

Future performances include Handel's "Messiah," Haydn's "Creation" and Brahms' "German Requiem." The group does not audition prospective members. Information: 410-374-3026.

Building bonds that last

If you have a middle school student who will let you book his or her social calendar, pencil in Friday and Saturday. Tell your child that plans include a sleep-over at Hashawa Environmental Center, good conversation and Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

Carroll County Women on the Move Inc. is sponsoring a weekend Youth Summit -- a series of race relations workshops and fun activities for middle school students.

"We hope that after this weekend, the children will know how to handle racial prejudice if they are confronted with it," said Edna Johnson, the group's president. "Perhaps they will be role models when they go back to school, and they will work on building coalitions."

Representatives of the National Coalition Building Institute in Washington will conduct the morning and afternoon sessions Saturday.

Participants can count on getting Ben & Jerry's ice cream -- that is Johnson's way of saying thanks to the Ben & Jerry's Foundation for donating $1,000 for the summit.

Registration is open. The fee is $5. Information: 410-795-0273.

Lisa Breslin's Neighbors column appears Mondays in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 11/03/97

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