On Sunday, June 3 at 3 pm, the Connecticut Choral Society will perform Ralph Vaughan Williams’ monumental work, “A Sea Symphony” at the Naugatuck Valley Community College Fine Arts Center in Waterbury.

This epic work is rarely performed due to the complexity of the music and the requirements for a large orchestra. For this performance, the CCS will be joined by its “sister” ensemble, the New Jersey Choral Society, which will swell the chorus to over 160 voices. Both choral societies are under the direction of Maestro Eric Dale Knapp and have sung together in Carnegie Hall and at benefit concerts in New York City, Danbury and New Milford. The performance will be accompanied by a symphonic orchestra and will feature world class soloists Jessica Rivera and Mark Womack.

Ms. Rivera, a soprano, has been praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for her “effortless precision and tonal luster.” The New York Times has described her as “vocally luminous”. Baritone Mark Womack has garnered continuous praise for his vocal interpretations in both the operatic and theatrical worlds. Most recently the Opera News described his voice as “strikingly warm, gracefully honey-toned.”

To inspire and prepare the audience for the performance, “Visions of the Sea,” an exhibit of seascapes painted by area artists, will greet the public as they enter the Fine Arts Center. Ira Barkoff, West Cornwall, and Joanne Conant, Newtown, CT will display their maritime paintings.
There will also be a pre-concert talk (“The Nautical Legacy of Ralph Vaughan Williams”) at 2 p.m. Doors will open for the art exhibit at 1 p.m. at the Naugatuck Valley Community College Fine Arts Center, 750 Chase Parkway, Waterbury. The audience is also invited to a post-concert reception.
Tickets ($25 adults, $15 youth 18 & under) can be purchased online at www.ctchoralsociety.org. All seats are reserved.
The Connecticut Choral Society, an ensemble of auditioned singers who hail from 20 towns, has performed at Carnegie Hall and has toured England, Austria, China, Canada, Eastern Europe, and Australia. In June they will travel to London for “The Fire Within,” a festival in celebration of the 2012 Olympic Games.

When it was first presented to British audiences in the early years of the twentieth century, “A Sea Symphony” marked the beginning of a new age of both philosophical thought and musical excellence. Drawing from the poetry of Walt Whitman, Vaughan Williams embraced the idea of a sea voyage as a metaphor for the voyage through life of the human soul. Also on the program, organist Linda Sweetman-Waters and orchestra will perform the finale of Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Organ Symphony”.