Choral Spectacular Unites Channel Islands Choir and Chamber Orchestra in Poignant Performance
The CSU Channel Islands Choir recently held the Choral Spectacular, a rare concert combining the talents of the Channel Islands Choir, Channel Islands Chamber Orchestra and the First United Methodist Church Chancel Choir in a moving performance of Brahms’ Requiem.
The groups performed two separate concerts. The first was held on Saturday, March 22, at the Studio Channel Islands Art Center at 2222 Ventura Blvd. in downtown Camarillo. The second, on Sunday, March 23, took place at the First United Methodist Church at 1338 E. Santa Clara Street in Ventura.
Brahms’ Requiem is a sweeping, emotional work, popular with singers and audiences alike. The Channel Islands Choir chose to perform Brahms’ Requiem for this year’s Choral Spectacular program as an anniversary tribute to the victims of last year’s Boston Marathon tragedy on April 15, as well as in remembrance of a beloved former choir member, the late Rev. William Gutkneckt.
A highlight was the dual performances of soloists Juan Dunn and Rabihah Davis Dunn – a husband and wife team from the Bay Area. Both have long-established careers as professional baroque, opera and oratorio singers; however, they have never performed together before in public.
Baritone Juan Dunn has sung for more than two decades, including over 50 performances with the Washington National Opera in Washington, D.C. Soprano Rabihah Davis Dunn has received many awards and honors during her 17-year career, including winning the Grand Prize from the Bel Canto Foundation. She will have her San Francisco debut shortly in Bizet’s Pearl Fishers, but has made time in her performance schedule to appear at the Choral Spectacular.
“Brahms finished his Requiem in 1869 after the death of his mother; however, the piece was intended to be a message of hope rather than loss. He wrote it as a comfort to the living who are left behind,” said Choral and Orchestral Director Dr. KuanFen Liu. “His Requiem took Germany by storm when it was first performed, and its comforting message for those dealing with loss still speaks to people of all cultures and faiths 145 years later.”