Their voices overtook Cornerstone Baptist Church with carols and secular and sacred spirituals during its “A Ceremony of Carols” winter concert. Now, the Aiken Choral Society will work with Sand Hills String Band for a new type of concert – a bluegrass Mass.
“The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass” will take place on Friday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m., at Cornerstone.
This newer genre is labeled as “a fusion of bluegrass, rhythms, harmonies, instruments and traditional Mass texts,” a release said.
Maureen Simpson, music director, was approached with the idea by a Choral Society member. Once she listened to the CD, she thought, “Hotdog, it’s a great piece. Let’s try it.”
And they asked Sand Hills band to help out.
“It’s certainly unusual to incorporate bluegrass instruments into this (the Choral Society’s) type of music,” banjo player Carl Purdy said, during a rehearsal this past week.
The band also consists of guitarist Billy Dukes, violinist Jennifer Parker, mandolin-player Angel Cleary and double bassist Travis Show.
The Choral Society overall seems pumped to try on this different project.
Loretta Healey, publicity committee and society member, once asked Simpson about movement during the concert.
“I want you to move. We have to get some of that ‘shoulder action’ in there,” Simpson replied, referencing the Whoopi Goldberg movie “Sister Act.”
The choir will also perform numbers from American composers like Scott Joplin and Aaron Copland.
Tickets are $20 at the door. The church is located at 100 Cornerstone Drive.
Last spring, the Society put on the “Creation,” a late 18th Century oratorio.
“The quality of the orchestra, chorus and soloists was right up there with the best ... My mind just drifted and was uplifted by the blending of voices. ... I was lost in a blessing of sound and thoughts, marking the beginning of another glorious day,” M.H. Chaffin said, who viewed the spring concert on DVD.
Carol Barnett is the composer of the widely-performed “The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass.”
“It was just recently performed at Carnegie Hall,” Simpson mentioned. “It just makes you want to move.”
For more information on the Society, visit www.aikenchoralsociety.com.
Submitted Photo Alexia Helsley from USCA spoke last year at the S.C. book festival and will return this year.×
Submitted Photo The bicentennial year of the publishing "Pride and Prejudice" will be honored at the festival.×
Staff Photo by Stephanie Turner Carl Purdy from Sand Hills String Band performs during one of the Aiken Choral Society's rehearsals this week.×
Submitted Photo Richard Paul Evans, author of "The Christmas Box," appeared last year and will be there this year.×
Submitted Photo This promotional photo is done by John Westbrook.×