Farewell concerts for Wheatland Chorale founding director
April performances feature Johannes Brahms' 'A German Requiem'
This month The Wheatland Chorale bids au revoir to Founding Director Robert J. Upton as it also celebrates its 25th anniversary. Upton's retirement concerts feature the performance of several movements from one of his favorite pieces "A German Requiem," by Johannes Brahms. Especially appropriate for a farewell concert series, the theme of the masterpiece is hope, renewal of life and the promise of the afterlife.
The first concert in the Chorale series is at 8 p.m. Friday, April 20, in Elizabethtown College's Leffler Chapel and Performance Center. Advance tickets can be purchased for $18 at www.thewheatlandchorale.org or by calling 800-838-3006. Tickets at the door are $20; student tickets are $5 with student ID.
Additional concerts take place at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at Atonement Lutheran Church in Wyomissing, Pa.; at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 22, at First Presbyterian Church, Lancaster, Pa.; and at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 29, at St. David's Episcopal Church, Wayne, Pa.
The Wheatland Chorale will sing "Leonardo Dreams of his Flying Machine," a particularly challenging piece to be accompanied by a small instrumental ensemble. The remainder of the performance, however, is accompanied only by piano in order to emphasize the "sing-with-one-voice" sound that Upton developed with the Chorale.
Also featured are several shorter works from classic and contemporary composers.
Upton is a graduate of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, N.J., and Dickinson School of Law, Carlisle, Pa. While in college, he performed in choruses under the direction of Leonard Bernstein, James Levine and Seiji Ozawa, and before founding The Wheatland Chorale, Upton served as founder and director of The Chamber Singers in Harrisburg, Pa.
Though his legal career centers in Philadelphia, Upton has commuted to Lancaster for weekly rehearsals for the past 18 years to continue his work with the Wheatland Chorale.