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Southern Lakes Masterpiece Chorale Performs "ELIJAH" May 6th, Stebnitz Builders, Delavan, WI

Stebnitz Builders is proud to announce the twenty-sixth season of Southern Lakes Masterpiece Chorale with it's performance of Elijah at the Elkhorn Area High School on May 6th beginning at 7pm.

As a sponsor and member of the board of directors for nearly ten years, we feel that supporting the arts is a vital part of our civic plans. This is a rare opportunity to hear Elijah performed by community vocalists, accompanied by professional musicians and soloists.

Tickets are $12 at the door and will go fast for the performance of Elijah. For those not familiar with the piece, Wikipedia offers this description, although it is really hard to capture the magnitude and beauty of Elijah without hearing it. We hope you have the time to support a wonderful group like SLMC in their quest to provide chorale masterpieces to this area for incredibly affordable prices.

Elijah, (in German, Elias), an oratorio written by Felix Mendelssohn in 1846 for the Birmingham Festival. It depicts various events in the life of the Biblical prophet Elijah, taken from I Kings and 2 Kings in the Old Testament.

Mendelssohn uses Biblical episodes, which are narrated in laconic form to produce intensely dramatic scenes. Among the episodes are the resurrection of a dead youth, the bringing of rain to parched Israel through Elijah’s prayers, and the bodily ascension of Elijah on a fiery chariot into heaven. Perhaps the most dramatic episode is the contest of the gods, in which Jehovah consumes an offered sacrifice in a column of fire, after a failed sequence of frantic prayers by the prophets of the god, Baal. Mendelssohn did not shrink from portraying the episode according to the stark account in the Hebrew Bible, as the prophets of Baal are subsequently taken away and slain.

The work is scored for four vocal soloists (bass/baritone, tenor, alto, soprano), full symphony orchestra, and a large chorus singing usually in four, but occasionally eight or three (women only) parts. The part of Elijah is sung by the bass/baritone and is a major role.

Mendelssohn originally composed the work to a German text. Upon being commissioned by the Birmingham Festival to write an oratorio, however, Mendelssohn had it translated into English, and the oratorio was premiered in the English version. Elijah was popular at its premiere and has been frequently performed, particularly in English-speaking countries, ever since.

(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

About Our Soloists...

Marie Severing, Soprano, has been Vocal Music Teacher at Big Foot Union High School, Walworth, WI, since 1986. She conducts concert choirs, vocal jazz and teaches class piano and music theory. Her choirs have performed in many venues, among them are: Wisconsin School Music Association Honors organizations, The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and in festivals in Los Angeles, New York City, Orlando, New Orleans and London, England.

Under her direction, the Big Foot choirs have worked with such great choral conductors as Weston Noble, Anton Armstrong, Beverly Taylor, Rene Clausen, James Rodde, Craig Arnold, Rick Bjella and Richard Severing. In 2000 and 2001 she was honored to serve as soprano section leader for the Wisconsin State Honors Mixed Chorus and has served on music selection committees and as an adjudicator for the Wisconsin School Music Association. Mrs. Severing has conducted 31 musical theater shows in her career and over 100 performances.

A graduate of Milton College, she studied voice with Susan Blumer. As a graduate student, Mrs. Severing studied with Helen Boatwright (Eastman School of Music), Elizabeth Fischer-Monastero (Northwestern University) and Yolanda Markulesku (UW-Milwaukee). She was honored to be chosen as a student at L’Ecole Hindemith, Vevey, Switzerland and has sung for Hugues Cuenod, Galina Pavlovna Vishnevskaya and Anne Morrow Lindbergh in Europe.

Julie Cross, Mezzo, has performed with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Chautauqua Institution, South Beach Chamber Ensemble, and other groups throughout the United States. While living in New York City, she sang professionally with St. Bartholemew’s Episcopal Church and performed around the city in various ensembles.

Her performance of Aunt Hannah in William Mayer’s A Death in the Family was recorded on the Albany Records label.

She has degrees from Oberlin Conservatory (B.M.), Manhattan School of Music (M.M.), and the University of Michigan (D.M.A.) and has studied additionally at the Centro Studi Italiani in Urbania, Italy. She is Treasurer of the International Alliance for Women in Music, and will perform in their 2011 International Congress in Flagstaff, AZ. She recently recorded a CD entitled, Songs of Forgotten Women.

Robert E. Ashcraft, Tenor - His rich, supple, powerful voice, along with his masterful musical and dramatic sensitivity, place him in high demand for far-reaching orchestral works and opera roles. Following a recent performance of Verdi’s Requiem, the Springfield (MA) Republican newspaper wrote that he ‘held the listeners spellbound with his heavenly declamation of the Hostias. His scrupulous diction and glorious even tone throughout a vast range placed him at the head of the solo quartet’.

Upcoming engagements include the Verdi Requiem with the LaCrosse Symphony and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Quad City Symphony. Recent performances include Beethoven’s Christ on the Mount of Olives, a return to Chicago’s Handel Week Festival, Buckner’s Te Deum with Rockford Symphony, and Verdi’s Requiem with the Springfield Symphony. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in Schubert’s Mass in G with MidAmerica Productions. He has also performed Handel’s Messiah, Lloyd-Webber’s Requiem, Vaughan Williams’ Hodie, and Haydn’s Creation.

He has earned praise for numerous opera roles. Internationally he has appeared with the Dublin Grand Opera and at the prestigious Wexford Festival Opera.

A New York District winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, he received his Master of Music and an Artist’s Diploma in Opera from the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.

Brian Leeper, Baritone, is the Vocal Area Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he teaches Studio Voice, Vocal Pedagogy and directs the Opera Workshop. An active soloist and clinician, he has presented numerous masterclasses and recitals at colleges and universities across the US and abroad. He has been a member of the voice faculty at La Musica Lirica, a five week opera program in Novafeltria, Italy for the past six years.

Equally at home with Oratorio and Opera, Mr. Leeper has performed over twenty major roles with opera companies in the US and abroad, including a national radio broadcast concert performance of Candide with the Cleveland Orchestra. He has appeared as soloist in oratorio with conductors Robert Shaw, Leon Botstein, Robert Page and Vance George.

Mr. Leeper formerly served on the voice faculties of Butler University, Operafestival di Roma and Lutheran Summer Music. His voice students have gone on to win numerous awards and competitions, and are currently singing in houses in the United States and Europe. Brian holds degrees from Luther College and The University of Nebraska, and has done further graduate study at Florida State University and The Juilliard School. He currently serves as Vice-President of the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

About our Director ...

Richard Severing was instrumental in founding the Southern Lakes Masterpiece Chorale and has been the conductor since the very first performance.  He is currently teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and UW-Rock County, having previously taught music at Delavan-Darien High School for 25 years.  Severing earned degrees from Milton College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

As a sponsor and member of the board of directors for nearly ten years, we feel that supporting the arts is a vital part of our civic responsibility and a great opportunity to keep the arts vibrant in Walworth County. We hope you will consider attending as well.

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