Celebrating Bluegrass and Love
On Sunday, March 19, voices rose and banjos rang as Minnesota’s renowned bluegrass band Monroe Crossing joined Commonwealth Chorale in a performance of The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass. The composer, Carol Barnett, calls this piece her “cheery sacred music” in which she blends the solemnity of a Mass with the down-home energy and invigorating rhythms of bluegrass. In addition, the band, a favorite among bluegrass connoisseurs and non-bluegrass audiences alike, performed an electrifying selection of bluegrass tunes.
The program also highlighted spiritual folk music and the Chorale’s commitment to showcase local composers. This year’s Commonwealth Composer is Kevin Siegfried, the pre-eminent scholar of Shaker music, America’s largest body of spiritual folk songs. Siegfried’s arrangements of Shaker songs demonstrate the simplicity and directness of unison melodies with antiphonal singing, showcasing a simpler form of American music. The performance concluded with a Siegfried arrangement ofI’ll Fly Away accompanied by Monroe Crossing, which was commissioned especially for this concert.