When Southern Delaware Choral Society's Ann Freeman received a phone call from Newark Symphony Orchestra Music Director Simeone Tartaglione, she recognized an offer that was too good to pass up. The chorus was being invited to participate in an NSO concert featuring Tchaikovsky’s "1812 Overture" and Borodin’s "Polovetsian Dances" to be performed Sunday, May 11. Freeman quickly relayed the offer to the SDCS Board and they promptly agreed.
The challenge the Southern Delaware Choral Society then faced was how to prepare for two different concerts - its own spring concert May 3 and 4 and the NSO concert - with only one week between them.
“The chorus probably could have held extra rehearsals to prepare that music independently of our own spring concert, but it occurred to me that it might be more prudent, and artistically rewarding as well, to tailor our 2014 spring programming around these two outstanding pieces,” Freeman said.
The pieces of the concert fell into place like a puzzle that began with finding the right accompanist. Freeman turned to longtime favorite piano accompanist Paul Fleckenstein to provide the fireworks that the performance would demand. SDCS last performed the Brahms Liebeslieder (Love Songs) Waltzes in 2002, and there have been many requests to repeat them.
Having Fleckenstein on board made it possible to include some of the Liebeslieder and Zigeunerlieder (Gypsy Songs) as well as Schumann’s Zigeunerleben (Gypsy Life). The program began to take shape in Freeman's mind with the broader theme of music from Central and Eastern Europe.
The SDCS is currently busy rehearsing the product of this collaborative effort, From Regal to Rustic, featuring song and dance from Central and Eastern Europe. The concerts will be held at 7 p.m., Saturday, May 3, and at 4 p.m., Sunday, May 4, at Epworth United Methodist Church on Holland Glade Road in Rehoboth Beach.
This diverse concert program also offers solo opportunities to several members of the chorus who have not previously had the chance to display their talents.
When asked if she had a favorite, Freeman said, “I could not possibly pick a favorite piece from this concert because the program is so incredibly varied. I think the title of the program, From Regal to Rustic, is very descriptive. Our audience members should come prepared for a musical potpourri encompassing the sacred, romantic-era favorites, traditional folk song melodies, and elegant and energetic dance themes. Totally entertaining!”
Tickets for both performances are available by calling 302-396-7617 and are also available at southerndelawarechoralsociety.org and at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach and Puzzles in Lewes. Tickets will be available at the door on the date of the concert. Costs for the tickets are $20 adult, $8 students with valid ID.