Chamber Singers perform at the Brooklyn Academy of Music for season closer
Under the direction of Brian Gendron, director of choral activities for the Virginia Tech Department of Music, the 2007-08 season for Virginia Tech Chamber Singers, and Virginia Tech Concert Choir included invitational performances at prestigious events and collaborative work with the American Opera Theater, a leading presenter of opera in the United States.
The Chamber Singers recently performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in the American Opera Theater production of Marc-Antione Charpentier's David et Jonathas. This 1688 piece of the French baroque uses music to explore the relationship between three timeless figures and probes the nature of man's relationship with the universe. The Baltimore Sun describes David et Jonathas "as noble as anything by Wagner, as emotionally wrenching as anything by Puccini."
Brian Gendron stated: "Performing this work with American Opera Theater for their New York City debut is a thrill and great honor. It will be a memorable event for my very talented students and for myself. This will be a terrific ending to a wonderful year."
Other David et Jonathas performances took place on May 2 - 4 at the Davis Performing Arts Center's Gonda Theater at Georgetown University in Washington D.C.
Invitational performances this year included the Chamber Singers' presentation of the choral prelude for the Oct. 21 Virginia Day Service at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington D.C. Occurring once every four years, this prestigious event featured invited Virginia religious leaders, Virginia elected officials and special guest Francis Collins, human genome scientist. This occasion was especially noteworthy because it coincided with both the Commonwealth of Virginia's 400th Anniversary and the Cathedral's 100th Anniversary of the laying of its foundation stone in 1907.
In November, both the Virginia Tech Concert Choir and the Chamber Singers were invited to participate in the Virginia Music Educators Association State Conference. The Concert Choir performed a 25-minute program as a featured choir, and the Chamber Singers, in combination with the Blacksburg Middle School Bel Canto, served as a demonstration choir for an interest session presented by Gendron and Blacksburg Middle School Choir Director Charlotte McKee.
In December, the Chamber Singers joined artistic forces with the American Opera Theater for a University Chamber Music Series presentation of the opera company's production of Handel's Messiah that took place in Blacksburg's Lyric Theatre. This was the first collaboration between the opera company and the Chamber Singers.
In April, Gendron directed the Virginia Tech Department of Music's New River Valley Symphony, the Blacksburg Master Chorale and the combined University Choirs in a performance of Johannes Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem in Burruss Hall. The concert was part of the Department of Music's New River Valley Symphony series and the kick-off event for ArtsFusion 2008. It was a great artistic achievement for the orchestra and choirs and received a rousing standing ovation from the largest audience that anyone in the Department of Music can remember, according to Jay Crone, head of the Department of Music.
Brian Gendron is the director of choral activities at Virginia Tech, where he conducts four ensembles and teaches applied choral literature and conducting. Since his appointment in 2003, Virginia Tech ensembles have performed at state conferences sponsored by the Virginia Music Educators Association and Virginia Music Teachers Association and they have collaborated with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, the Kansas City Baroque Consortium and the American Opera Theater.
Gendron is also the artistic director and conductor of the Blacksburg Master Chorale. Under his direction, the chorale has expanded with the addition of the Community Children's Chorus and the Blacksburg Master Singers. Gendron directs the Annual Blacksburg Bach Festival and serves as Chorus Master for select Opera Roanoke productions. Gendron has held positions at Goodrich High School in Michigan and Hollins University in Virginia. He served as director of music for churches in Michigan and Illinois and conducted the University of Illinois Chorus, University Singers, and Varsity Men's Glee Club. Gendron earned a bachelor of music education degree from Central Michigan University and a master of music in choral conducting and literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he has also completed his residency for a doctor of musical arts degree in choral conducting.