Arlington Chorale is presenting “Through Troubled Times” this weekend, a performance that was originally slated for two years ago prior to Covid-related shutdowns.
On Saturday (March 19) at Westover Baptist Church, the 56-year-old local chorus group will be finally performing a show that was initially scheduled for March 14, 2020. The show was canceled two days before it was set to happen due to the increasing number of Covid cases in the county.
“These works are the last pieces we rehearsed together before everything shut down in 2020 — we had to cancel the concert two days before,” Arlington Chorale’s artistic director Ingrid Lestrud tells ARLnow. “I think we all have memories of rehearsing this music in pre-pandemic times before masks and social distancing.”
“Through Troubled Times” features “dark dramatic moments and soaring beautiful melodies,” according to a press release, and will be highlighted by a performance of a two-century-old work that holds a “message of finding hope in turbulent times strongly [that] resonates with audiences today.”
In addition, Arlington Public Schools student Ava Yi, 13, will conduct the chorus in a performance of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” She won a virtual auction last spring that helped raise money for the group.
“Our shared human experiences over the last two years during the pandemic certainly adds a new perspective to this repertoire,” Arlington Chorale board president and soprano Ellen Keating said in a statement.
This will be only the group’s second concert back in front of a live audience since pausing performances two years ago.
The 60-member local, nonprofit chorus was first established in 1966. It’s a mixed-voice group, meaning both women and men sing together. Over the years, it has performed at a number of significant regional events including the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 2018 at Nationals Park.
Lestrud says the last two years have made rehearsing and keeping members difficult, but this year’s auditions renewed her optimism.
“I was blown away by all the audition requests I received! Most of our new members are in their 20s, and our singers range in age from 19-84,” she says. “It’s truly an intergenerational group that values inclusivity and diversity.”
With almost half of the 60-member group new and shows upcoming in May and June, Lestrud is confident the chorus’s future is bright.
“Most of the singers sang in choirs throughout high school and college, and they’re looking for a group where they can sing high quality choral music and be challenged to create something beautiful together,” she says. “Many of our members have recently moved to the area, and they joined the Arlington Chorale in order to meet people and become a part of our community.”
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