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Oratorio’s ‘Mass for Peace’ set for Monday

Let us have peace.

This common war statement is woven throughout Belmont’s Oratorio Chorus performance set for Mon, April 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Massey Concert Hall.

The 200 member-plus choir will be performing “The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace” by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins.

“When I discovered the piece, I knew right away it would be perfect for our Belmont students,” said Jane Warren, the performance’s director and associate professor of conducting and ensembles at Belmont. Not only is it interesting musically, it also deals with matters important to how we treat each other in the world. It makes us takes a hard look at the human condition and think about ways we can do better in the future.”

The piece’s message of the horror of war and the need for peace is expressed through singing, orchestration and a film specifically designed to accompany the work.

“I’m excited that Dr. Warren has the movie that goes along with the score playing in the background for the audience to watch while we sing through the whole concert,” Jill Giordano, an Oratorio chorus member, said.

The piece’s purpose is to motivate people to understand the issues surrounding war and peace.

“The quality of the concert is going to be way better than last year. I think it’s going to be really interesting because it’s a really personal topic. For every individual it’s a different meaning,” Giordano said.

Jenkins’ piece takes the audience on a journey through the effects of war by utilizing each song to express different emotions.

The piece consists of 13 songs and begins by sharing with the audience the drumbeat march calling to battle though the song, “L’Homme Arme.” He follows this song with the Islamic call to prayer, a prayer from the Christian Ordinary of the mass, and music containing lines from the Hindu book, Mahabharata.

As the piece continues, it explores the rage and passion found in the beginnings of a war, which then lead to a somber peace found in the sorrow of the aftermath.

“Through each song, the orchestra adds a dimension that provokes emotion that vocals alone cannot bring,” Maddy Fowler, another Oratorio member, said. “Every song will take the audience on a journey through the emotions soldiers experience before, during, and after war.”

Warren said her hope is that the audience will hear more than just notes on a page, but something transformative.

“When a concert can move both the performer and the audience member, then music can truly help change the world for the better. It is my hope that our performance of “The Armed Man” will do just that,” she said.

Students will receive culture and arts convocation credit for attending the performance.

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