World-class bluegrass entertainers Monroe Crossing will perform with the Grinnell Oratorio Society and Grinnell Singers at Sebring-Lewis Hall at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18.
The 90 singers of the combined ensembles will be performing “The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass” by Minnesota composer Carol Barnett. This inventive piece brings the solemnity of the classical-based Mass together with the down-home sparkle of bluegrass.
John Rommeriem, Blanche Johnson Professor of Music and director of the Grinnell Singers and the Grinnell Oratorio Society, says “composer Carol Barnett and librettist Marisha Chamberlain have taken the basic framework of the Catholic mass — a text that has inspired composers for centuries — and reinterpreted it to create a remarkably fresh work. The choirs have had a wonderful time singing this music; it’s so finely crafted and tuneful.”
The Mass appeals to lovers of the choral tradition and bluegrass alike, he explains. “During ‘The World Beloved,’ you will hear the close three-part close harmonies that you might associate with Bill Monroe or the Grand Ole Opry alternating with the full choral sounds that you’d expect to hear in a cathedral. The traditions are seamlessly combined into a new blended art form.” Reviewers have hailed this unusual crossover work as a great success.
In addition to the “Bluegrass Mass,” Monroe Crossing will perform selections on their own. The Oratorio Society will perform Eric Whitacre’s “Five Hebrew Love Songs” with the Ardore String Quartet from Iowa City.
The Grinnell Singers are a select ensemble that performs distinguished choral music with repertoire that spans five centuries, from renaissance motets to the music of today. The Oratorio Society is an open choir bringing together students, faculty, staff, and community members from Grinnell and the surrounding region.
Named in honor of bluegrass singer Bill Monroe, Monroe Crossing dazzles audiences with an electrifying blend of classic bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, and heartfelt originals. Their airtight harmonies, razor sharp arrangements, and on-stage rapport make them an audience favorite. Fiddler and lead singer Lisa Fuglie says, “We all share a love for bluegrass music and for performing on stage. We appreciate every audience, large or small, and understand that we’re there for them, not the other way around.”
The group has also received a number of awards, including Best Female Vocalist, Guitar, Mandolin and Banjo at the Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Association’s 25th Anniversary Awards Banquet. In 2007, they were selected as an Official Showcase Band at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass Convention in Nashville, and later that year, they were inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame.
Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the Campus Accessibility Map. Requests for accommodations may be made to conference operations at 641-269-3235 or email@example.com.