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Making History
First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley
Berkeley, CA
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Making History

Composer Mark Winges and San Francisco poet Denise Newman have teamed together in their first joint project to create the suite Water Doesn't Drown, a world premiere as part of a series of newly commissioned works to be presented by the award-winning Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir at "Making History " a new music concert, Saturday, March 23, at 7pm at the First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, 2407 Dana Street in Berkeley. The suite is only one of the newly commissioned works to be presented in the bold and much-anticipated concert, which features commissioned works by contemporary composers Stacy Garrop, Kirke Mechem, Pekka Kostiainen, Reed Criddle, Eric Tuan, Sue Bohlin, and Margaret Ruenzel. Composers Winges, Garrop, Mechem, Bohlin, Criddle, Tuan, Ruenzel and poet Newman will also be in attendance and will speak about their compositions during this historic concert. Guests will be able to talk to the composers and poet at a reception immediately following the concert. Tickets may be purchased online at, $12/$18/$30 in advance, or $15/$20 at the door.

Mark Winges' newest suite, Water Doesn't Drown, was developed by composer Winges and poet Denise Newman using water images to tie together a group of pieces about the stages of childhood and young adulthood: in fact, the stages of life represented by the musicians in the Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir.

Commissioned in celebration of PEBCC's 30th anniversary, and generously sponsored by Matt and Yvonne Rogers, Chicago based composer Stacy Garrop's Songs of Joy and Refuge will be given its world premiere by "Ecco" conducted by Clifton Massey. Using texts by poet Sara Teasdale, Garrop's work expresses the exhilaration, joy and solace that singing can bring. Her work is deeply human, both communicative and emotive. Dr. Garrop, an Associate Professor and Head of Composition at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, Garrop has won numerous composition awards, including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble's Harvey Gaul Competition, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Music Composition Prize, and two Barlow Endowment commissions. Garrop, who personally worked with Massey and his choir on her new piece, will also attend the premiere.

Daybreak in Alabama, commissioned by "The Dean of American Choral Composers" Kirke Mechem, will also be presented. Mechem, a prolific and widely performed composer for chorus, orchestra and opera, has written more than 250 works and with performances in over 40 countries. His latest commission features the words of Langston Hughes. Disguised as the simple dream of a child, it is a moving metaphor for Hughes's lifelong vision of justice and equality.

A fitting tribute to the 30th anniversary of the Choir is in presenting the works of three Choir alumni composers; Dr. Reed Criddle, Eric Tuan, and Margaret Ruenzel. Dr. Reed Criddle, Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor at Utah Valley University, where he conducts the Chamber Choir and Masterworks Chorale, served as conductor of the UVU Symphony Orchestra, UVU Chamber Orchestra, and UVU Women's Choir. He will personally conduct the west coast premiere of his work, Pieta. Alumnus Eric Tuan, recent Stanford graduate and professional singer in both choir and modern opera, will conduct or accompany his works Johnson Boys, The Angel, and the world premiere of I Sat Down Under His Shadow. Alumnae Margaret Ruenzel will have her Wordsworth setting I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud performed by the elite treble chamber group "Ancora" under the baton of celebrated conductor and Artistic Director of PEBCC, Robert Geary.

Rounding out the concert are works by Pekka Kostiainen, The Cold Told a Tale to Me, and Sue Bohlin, Composer and Associate Director of Ensemble for PEBCC, who will conduct or accompany her works In Anchor Bay, Summer's Here,and The Birch Tree.



First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley
2407 Dana Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
United States

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Music > All Ages
Music > Choral
Music > Classical
Other > Family-Friendly

Kid Friendly: Yes!
Non-Smoking: Yes!


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