Pilgrim Festival Chorus celebrates 20 years with Mozart performances

William B. Richter, Co-Artistic Director, image by Dan Raposa
PFC Spring 2017 by Dan Rapoza 1
Pilgrim Festival Chorus, conducted by Co-Artistic Director William B. Richter
Image by Dan Rapoza

PATRIOT LEDGER – Pilgrim Festival Chorus, a non-profit community chorus based on the South Shore, will celebrate its 20th anniversary this weekend with a pair of performances.

“Over those 20 years, the group has done some remarkable music,” said Bill Richter, one of the group’s founding directors.

The chorus will perform Mozart’s “Requiem,” which Richter called “one of the most popular pieces of music in the choral repertoire.”

William B. Richter, Pilgrim Festival Chorus Conductor and Co-Artistic Director
Photo by Michelle McGrath PR

“Requiem” is the last piece written by the composer, who penned it from his deathbed, Richter explained. The rumor that Mozart intended it to be the requiem at his own funeral has only added to audiences’ fascination with the piece, he added.

Before performing the Mozart piece, the group will perform a contemporary companion piece, England’s Poet Laureate John Dryden’s poem, “A Song for St. Cecilia’s Day,” set to music by Massachusetts composer Clifton J. Noble.

The concerts will feature a 20-piece professional orchestra and four professional vocal soloists joining the 80 members of the Pilgrim Festival Chorus. Two of the musicians will play the basset horn, a period instrument from the 1700s similar to the clarinet.

Scituate High School’s Select Choir rehearsing for its performance of the Mozart Requiem with Pilgrim Festival Chorus, under the direction of William Richter. Photo by Michelle McGrath PR

The Scituate performance will be a collaboration with Scituate High School’s Select Choir, which Richter also directs. The high school choir includes nearly 60 students who have studied Mozart’s “Requiem” as part of the school curriculum.

“The concept was really to bring together several generations of people,” said Richter. “It’s seven decades of musicians who will all be singing together.”

Richter said the concert is a chance for his students to perform a piece that’s usually not a standard for younger, less-experienced choirs. The group, which includes students from freshmen to seniors, has been practicing for the concert since January.

“They’re doing a fantastic job. I don’t have an adult group that’s going to carry the high school group or a high school group that’s going to carry the adults,” he said. “They’re all on the same page, which is neat.”

The first performance will be at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, St. Bonaventure Parish, 803 State Road, Route 3A, Plymouth. The second will be at 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, Scituate Center for the Performing Arts, 606 Chief Cushing Highway, Route 3A, Scituate.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for senior citizens, $15 for students over 14 and free for children under 14. Scituate families can get discounted tickets through online advance purchase. Tickets are available at pilgrimfestivalchorus.org and from PFC members. To reserve tickets by phone, call Gail at 781-826-8416. Some tickets will also be available at the door.

By Audrey Cooney

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