The Fairmont State University Choirs will present a concert entitled “Voyages” at the First Presbyterian Church of Fairmont on Friday, March 23, 7:30p.m. The concert will feature the Fairmont State Collegiate Singers, Chamber Choir, and Community Chorus. The concert is free and open to the public.
All songs on the program are related to the theme of journey—be it an ocean voyage, space travel, or a spiritual pilgrimage. The concert will include the world premieres of two new works for choir: “The Clef of the Universes” by University of Kansas composer Ingrid Stölzel, and “Record” by Fairmont State faculty member Daniel Eichenbaum. It will also feature several classic music theatre songs from the Land of Oz: “Ease on Down the Road” from The Wiz, “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz, and “Defying Gravity” from Wicked.
The central idea for the concert is drawn the science fiction novel “Contact” by Carl Sagan, which is the Fairmont State Common Book for the 2017-2018 year. The book’s depiction of humanity’s search to find our place in the vastness of the universe reminded composer Daniel Eichenbaum of the Voyager space probes launched by NASA in 1977. Both spacecraft included a “Golden Record”—an LP made of gold-plated copper—containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth. “I love this message of hope that was carried into the cosmos on the Voyager probes,” says Eichenbaum, “and I decided to use words and sounds from the ‘Golden Record’ as the basis for a new work.” His composition “Record” combines live choral singers with a pre-recorded computerized soundtrack.
Ingrid Stölzel took a different approach. After reading the book, she was drawn to the poem “On the Beach at Night Alone” by Walt Whitman. She says, “I was inspired by Whitman’s universal message, that ‘a vast similitude’ connects us all, which seems especially important in today’s world, where so often we place our focus on our differences instead of the ways we are the same.”
The First Presbyterian Church of Fairmont is located at 301 Jackson St, Fairmont, WV 26554. For more information, please contact Sam Spears at 304-367-4118.