[KHTS] – The Santa Clarita Master Chorale will feature the music, and a special appearance, by composer Stephen Schwartz in “Defying Gravity,” the last concert of the Chorale’s 2014-15 season.
Schwartz, the Academy Award and Grammy Award –winning Broadway composer of “Wicked” and other musicals, will perform with the Santa Clarita Master Chorale Sunday, May 31 at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center.
During his 40-year career, Schwartz has won four Grammys, three Academy Awards for Best Song and Best Score for the Disney animated film “Pocahontas” and Best Song for the DreamWorks animated film “The Prince of Egypt,” and has been nominated for six Tony Awards. He is the only songwriter in Broadway history to ever have three shows run more than 1,900 performances.
Schwartz is also famous for “Godspell,” “The Magic Show,” “The Baker’s Wife,” “Working,” “Rags” and “Children of Eden.”
He also wrote the title song for the play and movie “Butterflies Are Free.” His first opera, “Séance on a Wet Afternoon,” was produced at Opera Santa Barbara and New York City Opera. A book about his career, “Defying Gravity,” has recently been released by Applause Books. Schwartz has also been inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame.
“People should really enjoy this concert,” said Allan Robert Petker, artistic director and conductor of the Santa Clarita Master Chorale. “This concert will have so much music that people relate to, the melodies are so captivating.”
Petker said this concert will “really show off the talent in the Chorale.”
The Master Chorale will have 70 voices performing in concert.
Petker said the concert will also feature two of the three children’s choirs affiliated the Master Chorale. Students from fourth to eighth grade will perform in the Amadeus Children’s Choir and high school age students will perform as the Concert Singers, more than 70 voices in total.
Steven Applegate, producer of the concert said the Master Chorale wanted to do “something different” for the final concert of the season.
“We wanted to do something to attract more people,” Applegate said.
The unique concert will feature only the music of Schwartz.
“I don’t believe the Chorale has ever done an entire concert that featured just one composer’s music, let alone have the composer present and performing with the Chorale,” Applegate said.
Applegate said Schwartz will perform for at least 20 minutes during the concert, as well as performing with the Chorale.
A nine-piece band will accompanying the Chorale, said Applegate.
Among the songs to be performed during the concert, in addition to “Defying Gravity, “Dancing Through Life” and “Popular” from “Wicked,” will be highlights from the musicals “Pippin,” (“Magic To Do,” “Extraordinary,” “Corner of the Sky”) and “Godspell” (“Day by Day,” “All Good Gifts” and “We Beseech Thee”) and “Just Around the Riverbend” from “Pocahontas.”
The concert will include many other tunes by Schwartz, including “Testimony,” described by Petker as a “very emotional work.”
“There are people in the Chorale who have told me that they have trouble getting through the work, they say, ‘I start to cry,’” he said.
Petker said “Testimony,” which concerns bullying, will also include a multimedia element.
“It is about people who have felt disenfranchised and it builds in a beautiful way and tells people that they are loved and are special. I think this song will be the most powerful piece in the entire program,” he said.
“Defying Gravity,” 4 p.m. Sunday, May 31, Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons, 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, CA 91355. Tickets cost $19 to $49. For tickets call 661-362-5304. For more information visit www.scmasterchorale.org.
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