The Galesburg Community Chorus, the Knox College Choir, and the Monmouth College Chorale will perform Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah with the Knox-Galesburg Symphony and professional soloists, under the direction of Dr. Laura Lane, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 6 at Central Congregational Church, 60 Public Square, in Galesburg. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, and are free for all students; they are available at the door and also online at www.galesburgcommunitychorus.org.
Felix Mendelssohn’s Elijah, an oratorio for large chorus and orchestra based on the life and deeds of the Biblical prophet Elijah, is widely regarded as one of the greatest works of its kind. Mendelssohn wrote to his brother about the oratorio’s premiere in 1846, “No work of mine ever went so admirably the first time of execution, or was received with such enthusiasm, by both the musicians and the audience.” Since then, it has remained one of the most often performed choral-orchestral works in the classical repertoire, second only to works like Handel’s Messiah.
Dr. Laura Lane, who will retire this spring from her position as Director of Choral Activities at Knox College after a 40-year career, is thrilled to be directing Elijah as her last concert with the Knox College Choir. She writes, “I especially love conducting the big choral-orchestral works because I love the challenge of helping the performers get every ounce of expression and emotion we can get in each moment. Plus, Elijah itself is so beautiful and exciting! I chose Elijah because of the beauty of the music, the power of the story and the fact that the chorus plays a huge role in creating the dramatic impact.”
The Knox-Galesburg Symphony, originally founded to play with the Galesburg Community Chorus, is returning to its roots with this collaborative concert. Lucas Wood, Executive Director, wrote, “I am so happy members of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony can work together with the Galesburg Community Chorus and these two talented college choirs to continue our community’s great tradition presenting choral and orchestral masterworks such as Elijah. As a singer myself, I know there are few experiences more powerful than the downbeat of a choral work with orchestra and it is wonderful that we can bring these moments to life with our local singers!”
The concert is presented by the Galesburg Community Chorus, the Knox College Choir, and the Knox-Galesburg Symphony and is sponsored by Blick Art Materials. Other season sponsors include the City of Galesburg, the Galesburg Community Foundation, and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.
The Galesburg Community Chorus, directed by Dr. Tim Pahel, is the oldest community music organization in the Galesburg area and is currently in its 77th year.
***Courtesy of the Galesburg Community Chorus***