Enjoy free Mardi Gras concert and more
Music lovers should be grooving at St. Louis Church in Clarksville on March 1, when the Howard County house of worship continues its 13th season of concerts with “Les Bons Temps” — a celebration of Mardi Gras, a swinging session by a jazz combo, and a New Orleans-style reception.
The free concert is part of a series hosted by the Clarksville Catholic Church each year in the fall and spring, designed to “enliven, educate and entertain,” said Heather Adelsberger, the artistic director at the church.
The March 1 concert includes “Little Jazz Mass,” composed by Bob Chilcott, a British composer, conductor and singer, which “juxtaposes liturgical text with contemporary musical style,” Adelsberger said.
The Mass was commissioned by the New Orleans Children’s Choir for the 2004 Crescent City Children’s Choral Festival in New Orleans. It was first performed in the St. Louis Cathedral of New Orleans.
Performing the Mass along with the St. Louis Choir will be the Aleks Isotov Trio. The trio of piano (Isotov), bass and drums will also take part in the jazz session, which will feature D.C. jazz singer Lena Seikaly, who will perform songs from the Great American Songbook.
Seikaly, named by the Washington Post as “one of Washington’s preeminent jazz singers,” has appeared at Blues Alley, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Hamilton, the Strathmore Music Center and Sidney Harmon Hall, among other venues.
There will be a “surprise” for the audience at the end of the Les Bon Temps Mardi Gras concert, according to Adelsberger. It will feature a New Orleans-style jazz band, saints who come marching, and more.
The reception after the concert in the church’s social hall will feature “New Orleans-style fare,” Adelsberger said. There is no admission fee for the concert, which gets underway at 7:30 p.m.
Medieval music next
Next in the St. Louis Concert Series will be a Lenten Pilgrimage Concert on April 6, by the Eya Ensemble for Medieval Music, a D.C.-based vocal ensemble that specializes in the interpretation of medieval music for female voices.
The award-winning ensemble, which has performed at, among other places, the National Gallery of Art, the Music Center at Strathmore and Washington National Cathedral, describes itself as crafting “programs that interweave diverse repertories, forging new points of connection between contemporary audiences and medieval repertoire which underline our common humanity with early poets and composers.”
The concert, the only one in the spring season that isn’t free, costs $10 and requires reserved seating. It will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the church’s historic 1889 chapel, as opposed to the other concerts, which will be presented in the main church, built in 2006.
The three women in the ensemble — Allison Mondel, soprano and director; Crossley Hawn, soprano; and Kristen Dubenion-Smith, mezzo-soprano — feature music from medieval Spain pilgrimage routes, as well as liturgical songs.
“This interweaving of musical styles outlines the progression of body, mind and spirit along the well-worn and sometimes turbulent path of the pilgrim,” said Adelsberger.
Saint-Saens and Mussorgsky
Adelsberger herself will perform as part of a piano duo in a concert on April 28, titled “Art for the Young at Heart: Spring at St. Louis.” Members of the St. Louis Orchestra, a children’s choir, and the Atlantic Reed Consort, an adult quintet of reed instrument musicians, will also perform.
The free performance, which starts at 4 p.m., will feature the popular works “Carnival of the Animals” by Camille Saint-Saens, and Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.”
The Mussorgsky piece, Adelsberger said, was inspired by a series of paintings the Russian composer viewed at an art show. The movements in the suite are named after the pictures, including “Promenade,” “The Great Gate of Kiev” and “Baba Yaga,” who is the scary witch of Russian folklore.
Adelsberger said that, as the piece is being performed, images of the types of paintings being put to music will be projected on a screen, as well as images of paintings, drawings and sculptures made by the choir students based on their interpretations of the music.
The final concert of the season is “Patriotic Pops with the Barclay Brass” at 4 p.m. on May 19. The free concert will feature patriotic tunes and music by American composers, played by the Washington-based band.
The St. Louis Church is located at 12500 Clarksville Pike in Clarksville. To learn more about the concert series, call (410) 531-6040 or visit www.stlconcertseries.org.