The popular youth chorus, directed by Dr. Julian Ackerley, will present the world premiere of “Prayers from the Ark” at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Benedictine Sister’s historic monastery chapel at 800 N. Country Club Rd. in Tucson.
“Prayers from the Ark” was written by French Benedictine nun Carmen Bernos de Gasztold and it includes 27 poems written from the point of view of the animals on Noah’s Ark, each saying a simple prayer to God in its own voice.
In 1966, renowned conductor and former musical director of the Tucson Symphony Frederic Balazs received the book as a gift, and years later after hearing the Boys Chorus, he sat down to write “Prayers from the Ark” as a fund raiser for the Benedictine Sisters. It took two months to complete. The music Balazs wrote depicts the character of each animal portrayed in the poetry, “attempting to match the underlying warmth and wit. Interwoven are chanting, reminiscent of early church music.” Sounds like this premier will be popular with children who can imagine the Ark’s numerous animals.
Danish pianist Torsten Juul-Borre will join the chorus as a featured performer and will play selections of works by Chopin, Grieg and Liszt.
This promises to be an international evening of music inspired by poetry written by a French nun and sung by a chorus which is based on traditions of a European boy choir, accompanied by a Danish pianist.
“Proceeds from the premiere concert will benefit the Benedictine Sisters’ heritage fund, which is raising $1 million for repair and restoration of their 70-year-old monastery” (built by Tucson architect Roy Place.) They have currently raised more than $350,000 with the help of friends, community organizations and benefactors. Last year I toured this monastery and was duly impressed with the architecture and courtyards, well worth preserving.
Tickets are $50 and available by calling (520) 325-6401. Contact person is Prioress Sister Ramona Varela at firstname.lastname@example.org.