College brings war home with "War Requiem"
Concert: Sat Apr 26; 7:30 p.m. Darby Gym
Off-Campus Concert: Sun Apr 27; 3 p.m. Hoover HS, Des Moines, Iowa
Off-Campus Exhibit: Apr 19-Apr 27; Grinnell Historical Museum
Hundreds of musicians -- Grinnell College students, alumni, faculty, staff, and townspeople -- will collaborate on performances of Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem."
Under the direction of Professor of Music John Rommereim and Randy Buikema, this large-scale production will be performed on Sat., Apr. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Darby Gym, with an additional performance in Des Moines on Sun., Apr. 27, at 3 p.m. in Hoover Gymnasium, Hoover High School.
"War Requiem" was written by pacifist Benjamin Britten in 1962 and dedicated to four of his friends who died in World War I. The text of the work intersperses the Latin Mass for the Dead with the poetry of Wilfred Owen, a World War I soldier who died just days before the Armistice.
Ensembles and performers participating in the Des Moines and Grinnell concerts include the Grinnell Symphony Orchestra; the Grinnell Chamber Orchestra; the Grinnell Community Chorus; the Grinnell Singers; the Heartland Youth Chorus canternus, directed by Barbara Sletto; the Westminster Oratorio Choir; and soloists Thomas Meglioranza '92, baritone; Michael Oxley, tenor; and Colleen Jennings, soprano.
The Grinnell concert, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the events committee of the Grinnell College Community Council and is part of the College's Peace Week observance, Apr. 19-27. Community activities related to "War Requiem" include:
- An exhibit at the Grinnell Historical Museum, Apr. 19-27, titled "Bringing the War Home" features Grinnellians' memoirs, uniforms, photos, and artifacts from conflicts dating back to the Civil War. The museum, located at 1125 Broad St., will be open Saturday and Sunday, 2-4 p.m., or by appointment.
- A roundtable discussion centered on the question "Toward a More Lasting Peace: Can We Put War to Rest?" was held Apr. 20. Panelists included local veterans and peace activists.
Rommereim, who directs the production, has been a member of the Grinnell faculty and director of the Grinnell Community Chorus for 20 years, and is a respected composer and scholar of Russian choral music. He has received commissions and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Composers Forum, and the Iowa Arts Council.
Image courtesy of John Bell '08, Grey Iwo Jima, oil on canvas.