Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Festival Choir To Perform Spring Concert

By KEVIN CULVER, Special To The Bulletin | Published April 23, 2009

Festival Choir of the Archdiocese of Atlanta Spring Concert

Saturday, April 25, 8 p.m.
St. Peter Chanel Church
11330 Woodstock Road Roswell

Tickets: $15
(suggested donation)

More information available at

The Festival Choir of the Archdiocese of Atlanta will present its seventh annual spring concert at St. Peter Chanel Church on Saturday, April 25, at

8 p.m. The program, entitled “Tapestry – Sacred Music From the Past to the Present,” will feature music spanning some 500 years, from Tomas Luis Victoria’s 16th-century “Ave Maria,” to 18th-century composer Georg Philipp Telemann’s German “Magnificat” for choir, soloists and orchestra, to several 20-century anthems from around the world.

The Festival Choir is an auditioned group of singers from parishes all over the archdiocese. The primary goal of the ensemble is to share song and fellowship with other Catholic music ministers while exploring great sacred music treasures of the world. Wayne Baughman, steering committee member and director of music at St. Benedict Church, Duluth, said, “It is our hope that the choir’s love of music will be enriched, their faith deepened, and the ministry of music in the archdiocese which they serve will be invigorated.”

The program begins with Telemann’s “Magnificat,” written late in the composer’s life. The title comes from the opening line of the Latin text of the Canticle of the Virgin from the Gospel of St. Luke: “Magnificat anima me Dominum,” meaning “My soul magnifies (exalts) the Lord.” In the first half of the 18th century, Telemann was considered the most famous composer of his time and was widely accepted as Germany’s leading composer, more highly regarded even than two of his close associates and friends, Johann Sebastian Bach and Georg Fredric Handel.

The program will also feature an exciting blend of several choral anthems or motets, shorter works intended to fit into the context of worship services. Linda Morgan, music director at Mary Our Queen Church, Norcross, will lead the choir in several works ranging from a rousing early American piece from the 1700s, to 20th-century Herbert Howells’ Like as the Hart. Morgan noted, “Howells is particularly known for his large output of church music and received much encouragement from his close friend and mentor Ralph Vaughn Williams. ‘Like as the Hart’ is considered by many as one of his best choral anthems, with lush melodies of rhapsodic beauty.” The recently dedicated St. Peter Chanel organ will have a moment to shine on this exquisitely accompanied piece.

Other pieces woven into this eclectic and diverse program are two particularly beautiful settings of the “Ave Maria,” one by the Renaissance master Tomas Luis Victoria, and the other by the famous Russian pianist and composer Sergei Rachmaninoff, both conducted by John Brandt of Corpus Christi Church in Stone Mountain. And, in recognition of the 200th anniversary of German romanticist Felix Mendelssohn’s birth, the choir will sing the warm and beautifully lyrical “Verleih uns Frieden (Grant to us thy peace).”

In its seven-year history the Festival Choir has not only presented an annual spring concert around the archdiocese but has also provided music for several important archdiocesan liturgies. Brandt, a founding member of the choir’s steering committee, said, “There are so many benefits to participating in the choir, and we have had so many wonderful experiences together. The quality of the repertoire is a major attraction, of course, and the camaraderie of the membership, but we have also found great excitement and spiritual growth by serving as music ministers for several archdiocesan liturgies. Each year we participate in the ordination Mass for the permanent diaconate at the Cathedral, and the choir is selected from our members who are from parishes that are ordaining new deacons. We have also previously been asked to provide music for the archdiocese’s Eucharistic Congress, an honor we will again have this year.”

Jean Nash, a choir member from St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Smyrna, added, “The Festival Choir is always great fun. The rehearsals are invigorating, and the concerts and liturgies we do are always moving experiences. It’s also particularly interesting for us to bring our music to different parish communities. I think this is about the sixth different parish we have had the opportunity in which to sing, and each has its own character and beauty. We are really looking forward to singing at the new St. Peter Chanel.”

St. Peter Chanel Church is located at 11330 Woodstock Road, Roswell. Directions are available at

Tickets for the concert are $15 (suggested donation), and advance ticket information is also available via e-mail at or by visiting the Festival Choir Web site at