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Master’s choir digs into Mozart

Ensemble performs Mass in D-minor during Easter program

Posted: April 16, 2009 12:55 a.m.
Updated: April 16, 2009 10:00 a.m.

The Master's College Music Department and several professional musicians performed Mozart's Requiem on Thursday at Forest Lawn Hall of Liberty in Los Angeles.

"An Evening of Mozart" conjured up themes of judgment, hope and majesty as students from The Master's College Music Department and a core of professional musicians brought Mozart's famed Requiem Mass in D-minor to life on Thursday at Forest Lawn Hall of Liberty in Los Angeles.

Guest performers included soprano Desiree Hassler, mezzo-soprano Dr. Kimberlyn Jones, tenor Philip Webb and bass Dr. Donald Ellsworth who sang in the solo quartet accompanied by The Master's College Orchestra and Collegiate Singers, conducted by Dr. Paul T. Plew. Pianists Sam Rotman and Dr. Ken Mays also performed Mozart's Concerto in E-flat Major.

"To have our instrumentalists and our vocalists perform at this level, a requiem in Latin, is a statement about the seriousness in which we approach education," said Dr. John MacArthur, president of the college. "It's critical for us to train our students at the very highest level, no matter what their department or emphasis."

More than 1,000 people attended the performance.

"This is one of my favorite pieces to sing in," Hassler said, a graduate of the college. "It's a very memorable, beautiful piece of music, and very significant as we celebrate the passion of Christ."

"Anytime a person has an opportunity to perform any Mozart, who of course is one of the greatest geniuses of music history, it's a great privilege," Ellsworth said. "This was his last composition, literally dictated to a transcriber, his last known work. It's one of the finest (masses) ever written."

Jones hoped the students were inspired by playing alongside the professional artists, she said.

"I think anyone in the artistic world will attest to the fact that the better the singers are with whom you perform, the higher your level becomes because you want to try to reach their level," she said.

Student Jesher Loi, played in the orchestra as a second violin. The experience challenged him to display his best work, he said.

"It's great music, but really tough," he said. "Staying focused for the whole two and a half hours and staying musically in tune is a challenge. We learn so much and the music is just awesome, so it's really fun."

Graduate Tyler Bullard-Wolf, a second tenor in Collegiate, agreed.

"Dr. Plew is one of the biggest reasons that we're as successful as we are. He pushes us beyond what we think we can handle and helps us to realize that we're a lot more capable than we think we are."

Participation in performances like Mozart's Requiem teaches students to pursue excellence in every area of their lives, MacArthur said.

"What the students achieve in memorizing this prolonged Latin piece of music demands discipline," he said.

"They set a standard for the whole campus. College should put students in a situation where they learn to be disciplined in their life so they're given a good chance for success."


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