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After a three-month hiatus, the San Diego Master Chorale opened its fall season with a lively concert at College Avenue Baptist Church in the College East area. The two-hour event included choral music from Henry Purcell (1659-1695) to living composers such as Paul Halley and David Conte, who was present for the world premiere of his choral poem “To Music,” a gentle serenade of chorus and piano to music and the love it facilitates.

As an opera fan, I appreciated the inclusion of Samuel Barber's lilting “Under the Willow Tree,” from his opera Vanessa. The crowd's favorite piece, however, was Georgy Sviridov’s “Magpie Chatter.” The composer must have had the bad luck of living near a magpie nest to come up with this realistic choral depiction of their chatter. It didn't take much encouragement from the chorus master, Dr. Gary McKercher, for the audience to demand it as an encore to cap off the night.

A few chorale members also turned in convincing of solos. Sweet-voiced soprano Jenny Spence was delightful in Purcell’s “Thou Tun'st This World.”

  • Concert: Master Chorale Sings Conte's “To Music”
  • Date: October 16
  • Venue: College Avenue Baptist Church
  • Seats: general
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