Local chorale prepares to present Faure’s ‘Requiem’
Three performances set during Lent
Soprano Diane Fink of Middle River remembers singing Fauré’s “Requiem” – the Catholic Mass for the Dead set to music – nearly 20 years ago as a member of the Dundalk Christian Chorale.
“It’s an awesome piece of music – the music is absolutely beautiful,” said Fink,
who will soon perform the piece again with the chorale at three different churches during Lent.
“I’ve still got the old book,” said Fink, who held on to the score.
Accompanied by strings, organ and soloists, the group will perform at Dundalk United Methodist Church on April 2, Orems United Methodist Church in Middle River on April 4 and Perry Hall United Methodist Church on Palm Sunday, April 9.
“A requiem is very appropriate for the Lenten season,” said chorale director and organist Donald Appel, who helped start the chorale in 1992.
Appel was the organist at Dundalk United Methodist at the time, and the pastor’s wife, Angel Michaud Dooley, a professional singer, had suggested doing a community performance of Handel’s “Messiah.”
Part of Appel’s role was to help recruit singers, so he called singers he knew at various churches on the county’s east side.
The next year the group again performed the “Messiah,” this time with Appel as director, and the chorale has been performing a variety of music almost every year since, including classical pieces, Christmas carols, patriotic songs and Stephen Foster music.
A Towson University graduate who lives in Kingsville, Appel taught music at North Point Junior High (now the North Point Government Center) for nine years in the late 1970s.
He regularly plays the organ at our Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church in Dundalk on Saturdays and at Perry Hall Methodist on Sundays, and he especially likes the Fauré “Requiem.”
“It’s my favorite piece of choir music, it touches me emotionally,” he said.
“It was written during the Romantic period, which I especially love,” Appel said. “It’s a little on the quiet side. The harmonies and chords … it’s almost dreamlike.”
The chorale will sing the different sequences of the Mass for the Dead in Latin as it was written many centuries ago.
“That was how it was meant to be performed,” he said.
However, English translations of the words will also be available on a screen in the church and in the program for those who want to know the meanings of the words.
Included in the requiem are the Introit and Kyrie, Offertory, Sanctus, Pie Jesu, Agnus Dei, Libera me (the petition to God to be saved) that includes the Dies irae (the day of wrath section), and the In Paradisum.
A student and colleague argued that Fauré rejected the idea of a harsh and fearful Judgment Day as one approached death, stress- ing instead the idea of “tenderness, pardon and hope,” according to CD notes that accompany an Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus recording of the requiem made in 1985 and 1986.
Fink, who attends Orems United Methodist, said she started taking voice lessons at age 13 in North Carolina and sang in the church choir.
Singing in Latin can be daunting for someone who is not familiar with the language, because it means learning how to pronounce and sing the unfamiliar words, she said.
But Fink, a Nationwide insurance agent who works for Young Insurance and Financial in Essex, still finds time to practice for hours with the chorale on Saturdays before a concert.
“We all love our music,” she said about the experience of singing that brings everyone together.
She hopes the public will enjoy the performances.
“I think anyone who wants to hear some wonderful music needs to come to these concerts,” she said.
Performing as a soloist will be Norman Smith, a member of Perry Hall Methodist Church, is a former Baltimore County school administrator and Spanish teacher who also worked at North Point Junior High in the 1970s. His wife, Carolyn, grew up in Turner Station.
Also performing as a soloist will be Sonia Purol, who began singing on the radio when she was five.
She lived in Dundalk for more than 45 years, including time spent on Stratman Road in West Inverness, before moving to the Oak Crest Village retirement community in Carney.
“The high is being able to do a piece of music you love, it’s an emotional reward,” said Purol about continuing to sing throughout her life.
And playing the organ during the concerts will be Martha Requard, music director at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Parkville.
Performances are scheduled for:
• Sunday, April 2, 3 p.m. – Dundalk United Methodist, 6903 Mornington Rd, Dundalk.
• Tuesday, April 4, 7 p.m. – Orems United Methodist, 1020 Orems Road, Middle River.
• Sunday, April 9, 10 a.m. – Perry Hall United Methodist , 9515 Belair Rd., Nottingham.
Donations are accepted to help cover the costs of contracting with musicians.
Soloist Norman Smith practices his part in the Fauré ‘Requiem’ at Dundalk United Methodist Church. At the piano is Donald Appel, director of the Dundalk Christian Chorale, which is presenting the piece at three different churches during Lent.
French organist and composer Gabriel Fauré wrote his ‘Requiem” in the late 1880s.