The second-oldest university in the United States, The College of William & Mary, is sending their two top choirs to the Baltic States and will perform free concerts in Vilnius, Riga, Tartu, and Tallinn.
The Choir of the College of William & Mary and the William & Mary Botetourt Chamber Singers, performing together as the combined Choral Ensembles of the College of William & Mary, will also hold concerts in Helsinki and Turku, Finland.
Directed by Dr. James Armstrong, Jr. and Dr. Jamie C. Bartlett, the choirs will be performing diverse repertoire by British, Estonian, and American composers that showcases a variety of styles.
Classical Movements, Inc., the official concert touring company for the tour, stated, “We are very proud to be representing these wonderful choral ensembles. The choirs, which are over ninety years old, have a long and cherished history that has become a strong part of who they are as ensembles.”
The history of the university itself is unique and noteworthy. The College of William & Mary was founded by a charter signed by King William III and Queen Mary II of England in 1693. The university has been called the “Alma Mater of a Nation” because several former U.S. presidents attended the school. The first president of the United States, George Washington, received his undergraduate education at William & Mary, and Thomas Jefferson, third president and author of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, also studied at William and Mary.
The choirs will reflect this history in their British and American repertoire, which includes American spirituals and British pieces from the early 1900s.
The concert program will also include the special piece “Salve Regina,” written by Estonian composer Piret Rips-Laul specifically for the College of William and Mary tour. This piece was commissioned by Classical Movements, Inc. through the Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program.
Rips-Laul’s composition is a 14-part work for two antiphonal choirs and is intended as a prayer for the Mother of God. The ethereal piece is meant to fill a cathedral and create a truly transcendent experience. Rips-Laul is a well-known composer in Estonia, having been recognized for her achievements by the Riho Pats School Music Foundation. Her compositions have been published in Estonia, Germany, Sweden, and the USA, and she has been recorded on more than 30 albums in Estonia and abroad.
The choral ensembles are looking forward to premiering the piece on tour in the magnificent churches of the Baltic countries.
The concerts are free and open to the public.
The choir’s performance schedule:
St. Casimir’s Church (Sv. Kazimiero Baznycia)
Thursday, May 15 at 19:00
St. John’sChurch (Rigas Sv. Jana Baznica)
Saturday, May 17 at 20:00
Hall of Tartu University (Aula Tartu Ulikooli)
Sunday, May 18 at 16:00
With guest choir E STuudio
St. John’s Church (Tallinna Jaani Kirik)
Tuesday, May 20 at 19:00
Helsinki Cathedral (Helsingin Tuomiokirkko)
Friday, May 23 at 19:00
Turku Resurrection Chapel (Turun Ylosnousemuskappelissa)
Sunday, May 25 at 15:00
In conjunction with the Turku Conservatory Chamber Choir (Turun konservatorion kamarikuoro) and Varina