Glorious Work: Songs in the Rhythm of Life - TribPapers

Glorious Work: Songs in the Rhythm of Life

Asheville – A very special event is happening April 27th with Glorious Work: Songs in the Rhythm of Life, the Asheville Symphony Chorus’ Spring Concert, but this concert will be different from concerts they’ve done in the past. Held under the gorgeous dome of First Baptist Church of Asheville, this concert holds a special significance as it marks the revitalization of the Asheville Youth Choirs (AYC) program, which resumed activities under Music Director Emily Floyd in the fall of 2023.

“I think the most exciting thing about this particular program is that it’s the first time that the Symphony Chorus and the newly formed Asheville Youth Chorus will perform together,” said Kyle Ritter, ASC Director. Ritter continued, “Emily Floyd has worked enormously hard and is a real ambassador for the youth program. Emily and I worked together to find what music would work well for kids and adults. This is a balance of sacred and secular.” And what a mix it is—everything from Beethoven to Broadway.

A Different Kind of Concert

Ritter explained, “This is our end-of-season concert before everyone gets busy in the summer, so we decided let’s have fun, let’s celebrate music, and let’s celebrate intergenerational singing. People are going to leave feeling good.” Ritter feels it’s important for the kids to have these “intergenerational” experiences. He went on to say, “There are very few places in society where generations like this get to mix and craft something beautiful together. That’s what we’re doing, and it’s so important.

A Glorious Program

Glorious Work, which is a sponsorship between First Baptist Church of Asheville and the Asheville Symphony Chorus working together, is divided into four sections, each exploring different aspects of the human experience.

Songs of Nature

The first section pays tribute to the breathtaking beauty of Western North Carolina’s mountains. The section begins with “Now I walk in beauty,” a haunting Navajo prayer set to music by American composer Gregg Smith. This is followed by the Celtic ballad “Song for the Mira,” originally written by Allister MacGillivray in 1973 and arranged for chorus by Stuart Calvert. John Rutter and Joseph Haydn round out the section with a recognizable choral favorite and a selection from the Creation oratorio.

Songs of Peace

The second section opens with Rutter’s newest compositions, written in 2022 as a response to the tragic events unfolding in Ukraine. Another oratorio selection, “How lovely are the messengers,” from Mendelssohn’s St. Paul, before ASC embarks on the uplifting South African Zulu song “Ukuthula,” which means “peace and calm.”

Songs of Youth

The third section will feature the talented voices of the Youth Chorale, performing beautiful renditions of beloved texts, including the American folk song and hymn “How can I keep from singing” and John Leavitt’s lyrical setting of the Greek text “Kyrie eleison,” among others.

Songs of the Rhythm of Life

The final section promises an exhilarating conclusion to the concert. Starting with Beethoven’s “Hallelujah,” from Christ on the Mount of Olives, the energy continues to build until all singers hit the final crescendo of a Broadway showstopper sure to surprise and delight.

Bringing Back the Youth Chorus

It took an incredible amount of work to recreate the youth chorus, which is actually two choirs. The concert choir is grades three to six, and the youth chorale is grades seven to twelve. In her effort to form these youth choirs, Emily Floyd went to meet every public school music teacher in the Buncombe County school system and went to listen to each school choir. Buncombe County choral music is very strong, with some brilliant educators.

The Youth Chorale is the one performing with ASC. There are approximately 20 youth that will be performing at this event. Each choir will sing individually, and then both will come together as one on several pieces.

Where and When

This is a great opportunity to enjoy a variety of genres. The concert will be at the First Baptist Church of Asheville at 5 Oak Street on April 27 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available on ASC’s website and at the door. Adult tickets are $29, and youth tickets are $17.
Anyone interested in joining any of the choirs can get information at the ASC website,