2011-11-24 / Local & State

Mercersburg Chorus To Present Holiday Concerts

Mercersburg Area Community Chorus will celebrate its 36th year with holiday concerts December 3 and 4 at Mercersburg Academy Chapel. Performance times are 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday. The concert will feature the chorus at its largest size ever – 150 members! They will be joined by full orchestra under the direction of Richard Rotz, and soloists Elisabeth Turchi, Colin Eaton and Alex Helsabeck. The concerts will feature selections from Handel’s Messiah as well as carols and anthems, including Ola Gjeilo’s No Coward Soul Is Mine, a work composed for the chorus by the Norwegian composer with lyrics by Emily Bronte.

Soprano soloist Elisabeth Turchi’s versatility as an artist is evident in the diverse roles she has performed, from comic to dramatic. Her stage credits include Musetta in La Bohème and the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, among many others; she has sung with the Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Camerata of Washington, D.C., Atlantic Coast Opera Festival and New Opera Festival of Rome. Turchi’s numerous concert engagements include a European tour of Haydn’s Creation with two-time Grammy winner Robert Page and his Festival Singers. Other concert credits include performances of Orff’s Carmina Burana with The Providence Singers and Mozart’s Requiem with Maryland’s Hagerstown Choral Arts. An advocate of new and avant-garde music, Turchi performed Dave Brubeck’s Canticles of Mary with the composer and his famous quartet. An alumna of The International Institute of Vocal Arts, The Westchester Summer Vocal Institute and The International Lyric Academy of Rome, she holds degrees in vocal performance from Carnegie Mellon University and Shenandoah University.

Originally from Winston- Salem, N.C., bass soloist Alex Helsabeck lives in Rehoboth Beach, Del. He is currently a member and soloist with The United States Army Chorus, and director of music and arts for The Episcopal Parish of All Saints Church and St George’s Chapel. He is also the artistic director of the after school program for elementary children, NOTEBUSTERS, in upper northwest Washington, D.C. Prior to The Army Chorus, Alex started his military career as member, section leader and soloist with The United States Air Force Singing Sergeants. Helsabeck’s faith journey has always been the motivation for his music. “Service through music in all genres is my life’s calling,” he explains.

Colin Eaton, tenor, has been a featured soloist in Carmina Burana, Mendelssohn’s St. Paul, Handel’s Messiah and the Mozart Requiem; his opera credits include appearances as roles in Porgy and Bess, The Abduction from the Seraglio and Le Nozze di Figaro. Along with Eaton’s stage performances, he was also selected to be a member of the crossover classical Decca recording artist group Vai Dacapo, which had sellout performances both in the United States and in Germany. As a member of the world- renowned United States Army Chorus, SFC Eaton frequently solos before our nation’s highestranking government and military officials; he was selected to perform for U.S. and Allied Forces deployed in areas of combat, including Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan on seven different occasions.

Founded in 1975, the Mercersburg Community Chorus performs two concert series each year, in April and December. Admission to the chorus’ concerts is free; however, a freewill offering will be taken. Seating at the Mercersburg Academy Chapel is limited and there are no reserved seats; therefore, early arrival is recommended. For more information about the chorus’ performances and recordings, call 717-328-2324 or www.mercersburgchorus.org.

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