Who: Christian Clark is the director of Central Oregon Mastersingers, performing its Christmas concert, “Holiday Fanfare,” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Tower Theatre, 835 NW Wall St., in Bend. Formerly of Houston, Texas, Clark is the choir director at Nativity Lutheran Church. The 27th Street Brass Quintet will join forces with the Mastersingers for the concert, which will feature the premiere of a new work, “Sing We Noel!” by local composer and Central Oregon Community College music instructor James Knox. Tickets are $17 to $32 plus fees at towertheatre.org.
Q: Can you tell me about the new piece by James Knox?
A: Yeah, absolutely. Jim’s a good friend of mine. He directs the Cascade Chorale. And actually the concert came together before I asked Jim about writing a piece for us. I already knew that we were going to program a concert with brass music, and so I just casually mentioned to Jim, “You know, if you would like to write a piece for a choir and a brass quintet, I’ve got the ensemble that can do that for you.” Jim’s been writing a lot of music over the past couple of years, and quite successfully, and so he was interested in doing that with us, so that sort of developed about a year ago. It’s turned into this epic, seven-minute-long cinematic masterpiece with brass and choir. It’s really cool.
Q: And you have 27th Street Brass Quintet playing with you?
A: Yeah, and I know several of the members quite well. They’ve played with me at various things before. … This whole program started out, and as I was talking to one of the members of the group. I was looking to plan some holiday music with brass, and so we just sort of brainstormed a couple of things. That led into an entire program full of just wonderful music for choir and brass ensemble. And they’ve invited some of their friends along as well, so it’s actually going to be the 27th Street Brass Quintet plus another five or so brass members and some percussionists. So we’re doing some really cool stuff specifically written for choir and brass ensemble.
Q: And will the rest of the concert be pretty much Christmas standards?
A: Yeah, it’s all holiday-based music. We’re doing a couple of pieces we’re really excited about. One is by Giovanni Gabrielli. He was a 16th century composer at St. Mark’s in Venice, which is a really famous church, of course. He wrote a lot of music for double choirs, two different choirs and brass ensembles, so we’re going to do a piece of his. And then we’re going to do a piece written in 1957 that was inspired by Gabrielli … and this is called “Christmas Cantata,” and it’s by composer Daniel Pinkham. It’s written for a chorus and also a double brass choir, so a little bit of the throwback to Gabrielli there. It’s going to be really cool. And then it’s like, “Sleigh Ride,” “Carol of the Bells,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and those kinds of standards as well. … There are so many talented musicians in Central Oregon, and it’s really an honor for me to share the stage with them. I think this is going to be a really joyful concert, fun for all ages. And so I just hope we have a great audience, a great crowd.
— David Jasper, The Bulletin