On Sunday, the college choir and chamber choir will perform one of Dan Forrest’s most acclaimed compositions, “Requiem for the Living,” at College Baptist Church. The concert will open at 3 p.m. with a special piece from the chamber choir.
“It is designed to be in remembrance — it is for those who are still here,” said music department chair James Holleman.
Although Hillsdale’s choir of approximately 112 voices will perform the piece, this version of “Requiem” is fitted specifically for a small orchestra. Students will be singing parts normally played by an oboe, flute, French horn, harp, violin, and cello. Instead of the choir singing the percussion and organ pieces, faculty member Stacy Jones will play the percussion, and Debbie Wyse will play the organ.
“Requiem” is approximately 40 minutes long. Initially composed in 2011, it has since become known as one of Dan Forrest’s best work.
“‘Requiem for the Living’ will assume a place among the staples of grand choral literature,” wrote Paul Williams of the Classical Voice of North Carolina, an online performing arts journal.
The choir performance will feature a prelude to “Requiem” with another one of Forrest’s work, “A Prayer Before Singing,” sung by the chamber choir.
There is an intentional chronology in this song order.
“The chamber choir has a slightly morbid theme in our music this semester,” choir manager and junior Ellen Hogan said. “We will be singing a number of smaller pieces which all have the encompassing theme of loss. ‘Peace,’ for example, talks about blessing those who have previously passed. Most of these pieces have difficult harmonies and interesting layering that are always a blast to sing,”
“Requiem” is the chamber choir’s primary work this semester.
Hillsdale choir’s experience with Dan Forrest’s work largely began last year with the performance of “Entreat Me Not to Leave You.”
“It was really meaningful to them, so I was familiar with this composer,” Holleman said.
This summer, vocal department head Melissa Osmond sang a performance of “Requiem” in Chicago, where Dan Forrest himself was part of the production. Melissa brought the work to my Professor Holleman’s attention and encouraged him to take a look at it.
“The students are really enjoying singing it. You should expect to come out of the performance feeling uplifted,” Holleman said. “It’s beautiful music, just the right level of challenging for us. Ninety five percent is Latin, from the Requiem text.”
For the concert on Nov. 16, no tickets are necessary to attend.