The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 24, 2013

VIDEO: More than 80 voices to bring ‘Requiem’ to Joplin on Saturday

JOPLIN, Mo. — For years, Joplin resident Dee Kassab has wanted masterful choral and orchestral productions to be performed in Joplin.

Having earned her degree from Pittsburg (Kan.) State University’s music department in the 1970s, and having seen and sung in high-caliber performances across the nation, she has been exposed to such works as Handel’s “Messiah.”

“When I was in school, we had greats like Margaret Thuenemann and Carolann Martin to introduce us and audiences to those works, but there wasn’t much going on at Missouri Southern at the time,” Kassab said.

“Such works will bring audiences in from everywhere, will attract students, are great for the community.”

In April 2012, a donation sought by a fundraising committee brought “Messiah” to life at the historic Fox Theater now occupied by Central Christian Center. More than 80 student and community voices were directed by MSSU’s David Sharlow, a Kansan described by Kassab as “brilliant.” Sharlow joined the MSSU music department faculty three years ago.

On Saturday night, she thinks audiences will again be impressed: More than 80 voices accompanied by organ, strings and piano will perform French composer Maurice Durufle’s intricate “Requiem.”

Sharlow, once again directing, has brought together the university’s concert chorale of 64 students and a group of 20 community members, including Kassab, for the inaugural performance of the Southern Symphonic Chorus and Orchestra.

“I have always wanted to do this work,” Sharlow said. “It’s a beautiful work, and I’ve always had an interest in it. I knew it was something I wanted to do. This year, I knew that I would have the students who would be capable of singing it, so I said, ‘Let’s go for it.’”

Sung in Latin, a requiem is a funeral Mass. A requiem has been used as the basis for works by many composers dating to the medieval period. Durufle wrote his version in 1947.

The work is set in nine movements and was composed on Gregorian themes of the Mass for the Dead. Durufle had been indoctrinated in sacred music early in life, having attended the famed Rouen Cathedral Choir School in France.

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