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Chorale will present classical music concerts in May

South Holland Master Chorale will give two concerts in May to conclude its current musical season. They will be the final concerts directed by Albert M. Jackson, musical director, who is retiring.

Performances by the 80-member chorale will be at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 15, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 17951 Dixie Highway, Homewood, and 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 22, at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church, 880 E. 154th Street, South Holland.

Leading the performances will be Franz Josef Haydn’s Missa Brevis No. 7, also known as the “Little Organ Mass.” This rendition of music for the Roman Catholic mass, dating from about 1777, takes its popular name from the extended “Benedictus” movement for soprano solo and organ.

Highlighting the spring concerts will be the intensely moving “Requiem for the Living” by contemporary American composer Dan Forrest. This work, first performed in 2013, is a musical setting of prayers from the traditional Catholic Mass for the Dead, interspersed with other scriptural texts. Among those texts is the powerful second movement, “Vanitas Vanitatum,” based on the text from Ecclesiastes, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!”

Composer Forrest said: “A requiem, at its core, is a prayer for rest, traditionally for the deceased: Grant them rest. The five movements of the ‘Requiem for the Living,’ however, form a narrative just as much for the living and our own struggle with pain and sorrow, as for the dead: Grant us rest.”

Chicago-area organist Graeme Shields and a select group of chamber players will provide accompaniment in the concerts.

The chorale offers these two works as a memorial and a gesture of solace to those remembering loved ones lost, particularly those lost in the worldwide pandemic.

Jackson has served as musical director since 1998. He founded the singing group South Holland Master Chorale while a professor at South Suburban College.

Admission to the concerts is free; donations will be accepted.

Audience members are asked to follow updated CDC guidelines regarding wearing of masks at the concerts, with consideration of their own health and the health of others in attendance. For more information, visit the chorale website, www.southhollandmasterchorale.org, or email [email protected].

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