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Tribute to America's choral composers in Pleasanton today

Valley Concert Chorale joins with Cantabella Children's Chorus

The Valley Concert Chorale will share the music of America's great choral composers in performances titled "America: Of Thee We Sing" in Pleasanton Saturday and in Livermore Sunday.

"Our performances will be an eclectic program of popular American songs, compositions by great American composers that capture images of our diverse country from the perspective of choral sounds," said John Emory Bush, artistic director and conductor.

"One piece that promises to be an audience favorite is the famous arrangement of the 'Battle Hymn of the Republic' by Wilhousky, which is possibly the most heartfelt musical pronouncement of American patriotism," he added.

The audience will be invited to join in the singing of "America the Beautiful."

The music of the great American conductor Robert Shaw will also be featured as the chorale is joining choruses from around the nation that are celebrating what would have been Shaw's 100th birthday this year.

"I had the privilege of participating in numerous choral workshops with Shaw at Carnegie Hall," Bush said, "and for this program, I have selected two early American folk hymn selections, 'Wondrous Love' and 'Hark! I Hear the Harps Eternal,' both originally written for the famous Robert Shaw Chorale."

The Cantabella Children's Chorus will perform a selection of American compositions and join the chorale in singing four songs.

Additional composers and conductors featured in the program are Leonard Bernstein, Mack Wilberg (director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir), the late Stephen Paulus (a prolific American composer of over 350 works who died in 2014, with his beautiful "Hymn to America") and Byron J. Smith, with his classic spiritual "Worthy To Be Praised," when Cantabella Children's Chorus will join the Chorale.

"Finally, we introduce the young and gifted American composer Daniel Elder, offering his beautiful cycle of 'Three Nocturnes' accompanied by our concert pianist, Daniel Glover," Bush said. "These beautiful lush melodies are paired with expressive texts of love, nature, darkness and light."

"So diverse and filled with beautiful melody, there is a selection for everyone to enjoy in this showcase of American song," he added.

American choral works

What: "America: Of Thee We Sing"

Who: Valley Concert Chorale, joined by Cantabella Children's Chorus

When: * 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Trinity Lutheran Church

1225 Hopyard Road, Pleasanton

* 3 p.m. Sunday

First Presbyterian Church

2020 Fifth St., Livermore

Tickets: Visit www.valleyconcertchorale.org or call 866-4003.

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