Sunday, March 9, 2014

Here is Hope: the Lamb of God

Until recently, I hadn't heard of the Easter Oratorio, Lamb of God. Then, Jen Randall decided that Kalamazoo needed this. So Jim and I have been rehearsing with the choir, and have fallen for the music, just as Jen did. I've been wanting to share some thoughts regarding this, but it is hard to know where to start.

By way of an overview, here is what the composer, Rob Gardner, wrote:
My thought was to tell the story of the last days of the life of Jesus Christ through the experiences of those who witnessed them--those He knew and loved. It was most interesting to me to see what their decisions, their actions and their interactions with Him teach us about the Savior Himself. And it was important to me that Hope shine through even the darkest moments. I decided early on that I didn't want any actor or singer to portray or represent the Savior in this piece, mostly because I think it's extremely difficult to do so in an effective way. I chose instead to represent His voice with the solo cello. I also felt that, where the choir sang in moments of underscore, I wanted them to sing in Aramaic--the language the Savior and his contemporaries would have spoken. I have to confess that the reason for that was mostly that English just didn't seem to evoke the power and emotion I was looking for, whereas the guttural and consonant-laden sounds of Aramaic did so beautifully. There are many more decisions I made that I'll leave you to discover for yourself.
You can read the lyrics here. As envisioned by Gardner, they present the final days of the life of Jesus Christ, His Atonement and Resurrection. But the lyrics alone are not enough - the miracle is in the entire production - chorus, soloists, orchestra, narration. It grabs my heart and makes me weep, makes me want to change, to be a better person, a better disciple.

Here is a promotional video that features the cello (representing Christ's voice) during the piece Gethsemane:

A second video includes the piece Hosanna, celebrating Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem - a piece that we in the chorus love to sing!

So far, the chorus and orchestra have rehearsed separately. Our rehearsals have been joyful, wonderful occasions. And next week, finally, we have a combined rehearsal with the orchestra. I simply cannot wait to hear it all come together.

Then there will be the dress rehearsal, and, finally, our performances. Do you live near Kalamazoo? If so, our 65-member orchestra, 15 soloists, 140-voice choir and narrators will offer you an experience you don't want to miss. This oratorio will touch your heart, and magnify your Easter celebration.

The two performances (Friday, March 21 and Saturday, March 22) are at Chenery Auditorium. Tickets are only $5 each and can be purchased at, or through Miller Auditorium.

Come - be part of a miracle!

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