On Saturday September 9, the ArtSpace Gallery in Richmond will not just be showing visual art. And aural element- a chamber choir concert by The Piedmont Singers of Central Virginia- will be performed alongside the exhibit. The exhibit is called “STACK,” and is a collaborative endeavor by three artists- Chris Stephens, Gary Colson, and Paul Terrell. Each vertical work features three components of a human figure, one made by each artist in their own medium, which include relief drawing, ceramic, and carved stone. Helena von Rueden, founder/director of The Piedmont Singers used examples of this exhibit to create a choral music program called “Alpha and Omega,” which looks at life’s journey in horizontal segments, with works focusing on life, death, childhood, and love, to complement the vertical stacks created by the visual art exhibit.
In describing the process of choosing music to pair with the exhibit von Rueden comments, “I’m excited about this concert- it builds on the work of these incredible vertical pieces, which inspired for me so many ideas about collaboration, and about the pieces or segments of a life. The sculptures are vertical- I wanted to look at life as a series of horizontal segments. I wanted to tell this story musically while being surrounded by these pieces. I also used the theme of stacking- several of our musical works feature multiple authors of texts or sources of melodies, just like the sculptures which are built by multiple people.”
This is The Piedmont Singers’ second season of providing new choral music to Central Virginia. The group is made up of eight singers from the Piedmont region who specialize in unaccompanied choral music, mostly 20th and 21st century. The eight singers are professional musicians who perform frequently with other organizations in the area: Founder/Director Helena von Rueden, Pamela McDermott, Christopher Swanson, Abby Outlaw, Ian Richardson, Daniel Stipe, and newcomers this season Erin Wind and Adam Bailey. The group sang its first series of concerts in 2016. After a wonderfully positive experience with audiences in Farmville, Richmond, and Charlottesville, The Piedmont Singers are embarking on a second concert series in these same cities in August and September of 2017.
This year’s program is called “Alpha and Omega.” von Rueden notes that all the music is written by composers of today, including Kim Andre Arnesen, Melissa Dunphy, Ben Folds, and others. The style of the music varies from contemplative to upbeat, and represents modern classical, folk, and popular styles.
There are three concert dates and locations for the “Alpha and Omega” concert: Friday August 25th at 7:30pm at Crawley Forum at Hampden-Sydney College (free and open to the public); Saturday August 26th at 7:30pm in Charlottesville at St. Pauls Memorial Church (suggested $15 donation), and Saturday September 9th at 7:30pm in Richmond at ArtSpace Gallery (suggested $15 donation). More information is available at urls.hsc.edu/musicseries or by contacting Helena von Rueden at email@example.com.